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Croatians volunteer to help neighbours in isolation

Written by
Ivor Kruljac

Communities in Croatia can be friendly, welcoming and often quite close-knit. So, it comes as no surprise to see that the country's inhabitants are lining up to assist their most vulnerable and isolated neighbours.  

In response to advice that some people isolate themselves at home during the current threat of Coronavirus, social media groups have been launched to organise volunteers willing to step in and help such neighbours. 'Jedni za druge' (one for another) is a Facebook group, launched over the weekend, which gathers together people wanting to volunteer their time to the community.

Members of the group assist by picking up and delivering medication and groceries. They will even make sure your beloved dog doesn't go without its daily walks. With many older residents forgoing social media, posters have been placed in the streets to advertise the heartwarming community response.

The group started its activity in Zagreb and volunteer numbers there have already reached an incredible 9760. The scheme rapidly grasped the imagination of people all across Croatia. Localised offshoots were quickly established in Split (218 members), Slavonski Brod (117), Osijek (110), Zadar (385) and Šibenik (50). Volunteer numbers in each group are rising by the hour and it is anticipated further groups in other locations will emerge.

With the closure of schools, colleges, universities and a number of nonessential businesses, some have more free time to contribute to such a scheme. However, lots of those involved are still working full time, many from home, with the voluntary work taking place in their free hours. Such an initiative might well serve as an example of how to behave under these circumstances, with laudable community spirit like this a far more gracious response than the selfish supermarket panic buying visible in some places. Bravo Croatia!

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