European Solidarity Corps volunteers are raising funds to help Ukrainian refugees in Croatia

This post is also available in: hrvatski (Croatian)

The Solidarity with Ukraine Fund, which we established with the aim of helping and supporting refugees who have found security in the Republic of Croatia, has encouraged many to take action from day one. Valentine, Hanka and Katrina came to Zagreb in April as volunteers of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) and dedicated their time to organizing a charity concert to help Ukrainian refugees in Croatia and working on a film that shows the importance of self-love and gives a glimmer of hope in the process of overcoming trauma. For our website, they shared what the experience of working on event preparation, cooperation with the SOLIDARNA Foundation and what encourages them to take action looked like.

What prompted you to get active to help refugees from Ukraine?

Already corona showed us how important it is to stand together and support each other. And now with the recent events of the war, everyone is trying to help in any way they can. During this year we have learnt how important solidarity is, and this is how we want to support people that are suffering from these events. We have been following the events and what was happening through social media and the news. We have seen and heard many stories of people affected by this war. Through these personal stories our interest to help and take action grew.

Why did you decide to help refugees from Ukraine through the SOLIDARNA Foundation and fund?

Our main goal is to help the cause. We heard about the SOLIDARNA foundation through our work, and after some research, we found out that both of our objectives matched. We also wanted to connect with a smaller organization with a more personal approach. Right from the beginning Solidarna has been very transparent about where all the funds are going to, which was very important for us.

How do you see the connection between your work and the humanitarian work of Solidarna?

We came to Zagreb through the organization “European Solidarity Corps“. The core idea of it is to promote Solidarity which is also the main idea behind Solidarna. Our project during this year is specifically about Social Inclusion and working with people with fewer opportunities. So, this is resonating with the values of Solidarna.

What did you learn from working on the preparation of a humanitarian event and fundraising for Ukrainians in Croatia?What was the most fun for you, and what was the most difficult in the process?

We have learnt that it’s not so easy to find people to follow and support us in our cause. It’s one of the difficulties we had to face. For example, finding a location where the event would take place. We had to contact lots of bars and go through many rejections to finally find a location. Communicating with the association, the band, and the bar at the same time is also not something easy. Everyone’s expectations and wishes have to match. But with lots of effort and determination we made it work!

The most fun was to go through the whole process and every small victory on the way. Each good news, whether it was the bar accepting our event or the band agreeing to play there, felt like a huge success to us. In the end, many people supported us in our ideas, gave us freedom, and we are proud that this event is going to happen.

Can you tell me a few sentences about the film and why is it important?

The movie we are projecting during the charity concert has been made through our work, within the ESC. First of all, it is important because it includes and gives the chance to people with fewer opportunities and amateur actors to learn how to make a movie.

It started as a non-formal workshop, but it turned out to be much more. Our team bonded so well that we all left a piece of ourselves in this movie. The recent event and our life stories inspired us to create a short movie full of hope. The movie is broaching the topic of bullying. It is also telling the story about Ema, a refugee that is fleeing her country destroyed by the war. By this character, we wanted to show the struggle that someone that has to leave his/her country has to face. We want to show the reality of people that are facing this kind of situation. But in the end, we want to show that through solidarity, help, and love, people can overcome anything.

 

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