US Volunteers Helping in Hrvatska Kostajnica

Total Croatia News

Good will knows no boundaries.

“I am a retired physiotherapist, and I was fortunate in my life in the United States. Now, when I have enough free time, I want to use my efforts to make other people happy. I have building skills, and I use them for that purpose because I think everybody deserves to live in proper living conditions,” says Kurt Newton, one of 14 volunteers, both young and old, from the United States who are assisting in the reconstruction of three family homes in the area of Hrvatska Kostajnica, reports on May 25, 2018.

The homes are owned by families who receive assistance from the social welfare system and are unable to renovate and reconstruct their homes on their own. Therefore, the Abunde humanitarian association from Hrvatska Kostajnica, with the assistance of the local social welfare centre, has decided to help and bring in volunteers who have travelled thousands of kilometres to help.

The building material has been provided by the social welfare centre, and a week ago the volunteers from the United States came to perform installation and construction works on homes which are in terrible condition.

“As a student of architecture 12 years ago, I found the Habitat for Humanity organization. With a group of volunteers, I went to build homes in South Korea and later in India. Both tours were led by Richard MacIntyre, who was planning to organise a similar project in Croatia. It took more than ten years for that to happen, but last week the first group from the United States, again under Richard’s leadership, started with the construction,” says Marija Kovačević, the president of the Abunde humanitarian association from Hrvatska Kostajnica, which promotes volunteer activities with the aim of improving housing conditions of Croatian citizens.

In addition to their labour, the American volunteers also bear all the costs of their stay in Croatia. Their working day is very long: after breakfast, they go in three groups to the construction sites where they work until the lunch break. After that, the work continues until late afternoon hours.

As part of their stay in Croatia, they will also visit Slavonia and Dalmatia.

“Local residents are delighted with the Americans’ decision to come here and help people they do not even know. And the Americans are impressed with Croatian food, especially beans, with brandy, wines, people, and beauties of our region. Some of them say they are already planning to bring new volunteer groups to our country,” says Kovačević.

The Habitat for Humanity organization, which has brought the volunteers to Croatia, is active around the world. Last year, it helped reconstruct homes in 50 countries around the world.


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