January activities in JRS – in Croatia

30 March 2023

They say January is the longest, most depressing month, everything we don’t like is most likely January. For us at the Jesuit Service for Refugees Croatia, January is one of those months when we pause a little, take various inventories. But, in spite of that, the month had activities where we socialized, learned something new, and improved ourselves culturally.

Well, let’s go in order.

At the beginning of the month, a two-day workshop was held as part of the SHAPE Academy project as part of project activities carried out by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) as a partner in the European SHAPE project.

The SHAPE project, which began its implementation in January 2022 and will end in January 2024, is co-financed by the European Commission from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

The two-day SHAPE Academy was attended by representatives of the cities of Zagreb and Sisak, the Open University Zagreb, adult education institution, the Croatian Red Cross, the Center for Social Welfare Novi Zagreb, the Center for the Culture of Dialogue, and the organizers of the Festival of Tolerance, i.e. the non-profit citizens’ association Festival of Contemporary Jewish Film Zagreb.

The SHAPE academy trainers were: project manager Dajana Toumeh Ravlija, Jurica Gregurić, senior expert associate for the promotion of human rights (City of Zagreb) and Jelena Posavec Smilović, project manager (Education Center Initiative).

On the first day, the participants dealt with topics related to democratic governance and participatory democracy. On the second day, they discussed volunteering as a form of participatory democracy and exchanged examples of good practice related to integration.

In addition, the Action Plan for applicants for international protection and persons granted international protection for the year 2022 was implemented. It was on the basis of that action plan that recommendations were made for the creation of a new action plan.

We left cultural activities for the end of the month. After two pandemic years, our favorite manifestation Night of the Museum returned to us with the motto: “Museums are important!”. JRS joined this year for the first time as an organizer together with the Mijo Kovačić Gallery and the Mijo Kovačić Foundation. In addition to the beautiful exhibition of the doyen of Croatian naive painting, the visitors enjoyed a wonderful concert.

The interactive concert of the HARP HALL music museum, which comes to us from the brave city of Lavov (Ukraine), was organized by the Mudrik family, which is the owner of the aforementioned museum. The whole family has a musical education, the eldest daughter is a student of the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb. They channeled their love for music by making different instruments from different parts of the world.

Visitors could try out each of the instruments and thus see how music knows no borders, skin color, language, religion. It is universal to everyone and arouses emotions in everyone. Along with the Ukrainians, Brazilians, Croatians, Argentines, Latvians and Russians joined us.

After the Night of the Museum, we visited the Open Days of the famous collector Dagmar Meneghello. We enjoyed the works of Šutej, Friščić, Etorović and Ćorković in her home on Krležin Gvozd. Women from Ukraine who live in Croatia joined us at the Open Days.