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Five months after the devastating earthquakes that hit Sisak-Moslavina County, SOLIDARNA Foundation and members of the Council of the Fund 5.5 presented the second phase of the Crisis Support Program after the earthquake “Solidarity with Petrinja and SMŽ”. The fund has so far collected 14.220.393,50 HRK, 4.600.000,00 HRK of which has been placed within the first phase of crisis support and housing. The second phase, which begins in June, will last until the end of the year and includes: support for development initiatives worth 1.000.000,00 HRK, the payment of which is underway, stabilization of socially vulnerable households with financial support worth 2.000.000,00 HRK, and sustainable reconstruction of the County, for which 7.000.000,00 HRK is ensured, as well as all additional money which will be collected with future donations.
Ivan Blažević, Secretary General of SOLIDARNA Foundation and Head of the Fund 5.5, presented the goals of the phase of sustainable reconstruction and recovery: “Our focus is on stabilization, reconstruction and recovery of this region that has been struggling with poverty, hopelessness and lack of development support. Our priority is to provide permanent housing solutions for families who lost their homes in the earthquake. In recent months, we have gathered experts and developed an investment model in which at least 35 households will be permanently taken care of. It is important to emphasize that the reconstruction of Sisak-Moslavina County is not only the reconstruction of homes and farms, but of the entire community, and this is best done by investing in local development innovations. “
In order to encourage local production, provide support for launching or continuing started initiatives, all with the aim of preventing the emigration of local population, SOLIDARNA Foundation and members of the Council of the Fund 5.5 carried out a tender as part of wich 1.000.000,00 HRK of financial aid was awarded to 10 local projects. Fund 5.5 Council member Anamarija Užbinec presented the winners: “Every project that was given the financial aid is extremely important to support community development and reconstruction of economic and social life, same as to provide opportunities and motivation for people to stay in this forgotten area.”
The recipients of development grants are:
1) Pun Ceker – SISAK-MOSLAVA COUNTY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION – COOPERATIVE FOR PRODUCTION, TRADE AND SERVICES – for the cost of purchasing the necessary tools and equipment to prepare the entry of local beekeepers and honeycombs into the catering niche, which will strengthen their competitivness . The awarded donation amount is 166.500,00 HRK.
2) Association of winegrowers and fruit growers Sveti Bartol Letovanski Vrh, Lekenik – for the cost of purchasing equipment for the harvest in 2021 and maintaining the production of local varieties Škrlet in order to strengthen the capacity of winegrowers and winemakers in Sisak-Moslavina County. The awarded amount of the donation is 140.000,00 HRK
3) Nas pet d.o.o., Petrinja – for the cost of marketing support of 10 local family farms and strengthening the competences of local marketing companies in the form of creating a visual identity, launching and initial management of social networks for 10 sub-users and printing labels for sub-users. The amount of the donation is 135.000,00 HRK.
4) LAG ZRINSKA GORA – TUROPOLJE – for the cost of preparation of technical documentation for a minimum of 25 family applicants for measure 5.2.1. of Ministry of Agriculture for the reconstruction of agricultural facilities in earthquake-affected areas. The amount of the donation is 150.000,00 HRK.
5) Association of Persons with Disabilities of Sisak-Moslavina County – for the purchase of equipment for work on the Inclusive Farm for the purpose of integration and activation of persons with disabilities with the promotion of sustainable development and for the reconstruction of the necessary warehouse for equipment and machinery. The amount of the donation is 120.000,00 HRK.
6) Association of the Blind of Sisak-Moslavina County Sisak – for the purchase of 3 greenhouses for the development of social entrepreneurship and horticulture for social and economic activation and inclusion of blind and partially sighted people. The amount of the donation is 51.000,00 HRK.
7) Civil Rights Project Sisak – to strengthen the capacity of field legal and psychosocial support to earthquake affected citizens through Platform 044 – Together for a better future of Sisak-Moslavina County. The amount of the donation is 96.000,00 HRK.
8) Local Democracy Agency Sisak – for the cost of participatory development of the conceptual design and conceptual design of the Social and Cultural Center Sisak as a focus of direct support to citizens and community recovery. The amount of the donation is 83.480,00 HRK.
9) SUNFLOWER – Center for Community Development, Gvozd – for the cost of procurement of tools and equipment needed for education of children and youth for sustainable development throughout the summer and the year 2022. The amount of the donation: 46.000,00 HRK.
10) Volleyball club Glina – for the cost of purchasing sports equipment for 70 girls members of the club for the purpose of recreation and animation of children and youth and connecting with corporate donors. The amount of the donation is 12.020,00 HRK.
Part of the funds that will be spent in the phase of sustainable reconstruction and recovery of Sisak-Moslavina County has been allocated for one-time financial support for the purpose of socio-economic empowerment of the most socially vulnerable individuals and families. The President of the Fund 5.5 Council, prof.dr.sc. Marina Ajduković explained why this is important for strengthening the development capacities of local communities: “We try to have targeted access to users, while the state continues with non-selective assistance. Although disasters affect everyone equally, in a state of disaster the poor only become even poorer if we do not help. “
Through continuous field presence in Sisak-Moslavina County, organized activities within the Coordination of Humanitarians, cooperation with local stakeholders, but also through communication with the local population about the problems they have been dealing with in recent months, SOLIDARNA Foundation has mapped the key challenges for which to be resolved interdepartmental cooperation of all actors is necessary.
On the topic of the biggest challenges, the manager of SOLIDARNA Foundation Marina Škrabalo and presented the Foundation’s requests to government institutions. The priority is to restart legalization: “It is necessary to enable people whose demolished buildings have not been legalized to do so in order to have a legal basis for the reconstruction process. Re-launching legalization must include subsidizing the fee for which most victims have no money. If this is not done, many households will be left disenfranchised in the reconstruction program. “
The second request refers to efficient administration and affordable technical assistance, and in that context the SOLIDARNA Foundation has high expectations from the Center for Reconstruction in Petrinja, Škrabalo added: “The center must function as a reference point where citizens, local producers and donors can get all necessary information and specific technical assistance, primarily regarding the preparation of construction projects in accordance with the Law on Reconstruction.“
Having sustainable reconstruction and recovery in mind, civil society must not be left out, as it suffers the enormous consequences of the earthquake and fights for the survival of both its communities and itself: “Instead of an invisible hand with the ‘fastest finger’, the SOLIDARNA Foundation appeals on open a program of emergency financing of the urgent and immediate needs of local associations that work day and night in the field, and have not yet received any form of support for their field costs, operational expenses or renovation and reconstruction of their premises. In these extraordinary circumstances in which they operate, active citizens have no time and must not be put on hold. “, said Škrabalo and reminded that the Coordination of Humanitarians requested a meeting with the authorities two weeks ago so that civil organizations operating in Sisak-Moslavina County get concrete help, but they have not yet received a response to the request.
In addition to the civil sector, for the sustainable reconstruction and recovery of the County it is necessary to support local craftsmen, pointed out Škrabalo: “We appeal to all newly elected local authorities to start organizing demolition programs in cooperation with local craftsmen and thus contribute to the survival of the local economy. The Public Chamber of Crafts and the Association of Craftsmen of the SMC, whose appeal we join in solidarity, has also alerted the public to this problem. “
Finally, the fifth request concerns the refund of VAT paid to donor reconstruction programs, which SOLIDARNA Foundation has been appealing to since the beginning of its activities in Sisak-moslavina County, Škrabalo reminded: “So far, SOLIDARNA Foundation payed over 700.000.00 HRK and we predict that the amount of money spent on VAT will go up to 2.000.000,00 HRK. To put it in perspective, that means 10 houses less for the people that lost their homes in the earthquake. We propose that the Government makes a decision on the automatic refund of VAT to humanitarian programs, which will reinvest that amount in further reconstruction and construction in order to take care of as many families as possible by the end of this year. “7