Our foundation visits old, poor and lonely people in Croatia’s most forgotten and rural parts. Our team of volunteers does a fieldtrip twice a week to these areas. Usually we visit around ten people per day. In many parts people live very remote and we have to drive many miles on dirt roads to come to their houses. Many of these people whom we visit live without city water or electricity. Yet it is not their lack of comfort but the loneliness that makes life so hard for them. We try to spend 20 minutes with each granny or grandpa. Very often we are the only person they see besides the postman in all those lonely days.
Many of the areas we visit are in Croatias former war zones. Because the economy hardly recovered after the war in those areas young people left. That is why you will find mostly only old people in some of the villages that used to have many more inhabitants.
Many of the old people do not have family or children at all. Even more sad is life for those who have children but they lost contact through the years. Many of the children moved abroad to a better life. Sadly but true they forgot their parents.
The people that we visit have an average social income or small pension of about 500-800 kuna. This is not more than 100 euros. So we always bring them a bag with groceries as for them shopping is very expensive. The local supermarket is often more than 15 kilometer away and there is no public transport. Local people offer their car but this comes with a high price (often more than 150 kuna).
Two times per year the organization Humaned from Holland organizes transports of quality clothing. So we are able to give proper winter clothes and blankets to most of the people we visit.
Once a year we also give high quality seeds from Holland as so many of the old people still have their own little garden.
The price for living is very high in Croatia. But the price to stay alive for many of the old people is even higher. Growing old on the edge of Europa cannot be compared to the circumstances in Western Europa. It comes with a lot of hardship, poverty and loneliness. It happens every now and then that somebody just dies alone, lonely without any single person around them.
Proplan works together in these areas with the local governments. We always approach them first and ask them to bring us to the most needy people. It is usually the Red Cross who know how to trace the people. They do a very good job in many of Croatias rural areas. However most of the time their budget is not sufficient to give packages to the people frequently.
Areas we work in in Croatia:
- Krapina surrounding(Zagorje), 8 people
- Zumberak mountains, 8 people
- Krasic, to be started
- Catrnja & Krnjak surroundings, 12 people
- Cetingrad & Slunj area, 19 people
- Plavno (Knin) area, 12 people
- Glina area, 9 people
- Dvor area, 8 people
- Vojnic area, 17 people
- Gvozd area, 6 people
- Pokupsko, to be started
- Donji Lapac, no longer active
Animals in need
The suffering of chain dogs in Croatia is immense. We try to bring some relief by talking to the people and give them longer chains. When there is no shelter for the dog we buy dog houses. Many of the old people keep pets but many of them do not know how to treat them. On every field trip we take supply of dog food to give to dogs who are in bad condition. Unfortunately we cannot take stray dogs who are plenty in some of the rural areas.
Clean up actions
As there are thousands and thousands of wild dumps over Croatia foundation Proplan tries to solve this immense problem by doing some clean up actions from time to time. All clean ups take place in the Zumberak Nature Park where our organization is based.
Developing local tourism
Foundation Proplan was involved in one of Croatias first local village tourism projects in Lonjsko Polje. A projects that was funded by Proplan to help former Bosnian refugees realizing their dream. These day foundation Proplan was involved in a walking trail project in the Zumberak Nature Park.
Local souvenir shop in Slunj
At the picturesque village of Rastoke near Slunj we host a small souvenir shop. Here we inform the thousands of tourists on their way to Plitvice about our work in Croatia. We also sell souvenirs to raise funds for our humanitarian work in Croatia.