Hvar's children excel, Eco Hvar benefits!

Published in Highlights

Children who care make a BIG difference to the world around them. It is great to find them on Hvar.

In August 2019 we at Eco Hvar were surprised, honoured and deeply touched to be offered the proceeds of a 'fair / exhibition' organized in aid of helping abandoned animals on Hvar. The event was the brainchild of just two youngsters, Kai Balent, aged 10, and Tonka Boellard, 8.

(from left to right) Leona Beserminji, Kai Balent, and Tonka Boellard. Photo: Dinka Barbić

It all started when they were on the beach one day and noticed a lot of litter around them. They collected it up, and then started thinking that they would like to do more to help make things better on Hvar. Being animal lovers they were drawn to the idea of raising money to help homeless animals. They set about this challenging task with determination, organizing workshops of their young friends and acquaintances to create a variety of hand-made artefacts to sell at the proposed fair. In no time at all they produced a gloriously colourful and tasteful collection of beautiful souvenirs.

Some of the handicrafts produced in the children's workshops. Photo: Dinka Barbić

They also designed advertising material for posters and for the internet.

Kai, Tonka and their colleagues sought minimal assistance from grown-ups. The main adult intervention consisted of Kai's mother Jelena approaching us at Eco Hvar asking if we would like to accept the proceeds of the fair/exhibition. That was on August 14th, when all the materials were prepared and the project ready to go. Of course we were delighted!

The fair took place at the PlatFORma* premises in Hvar Town on Monday August 19th. It quickly gravitated from inside the building on to the open space outside, where it attracted the attention of a large number of well-wishers, locals and visitors alike. Eco Hvar Vice-President gave a short address describing the Charity's work and expressing our deepest gratitude to everyone involved in the event, especially, of course, the two young instigators.

Nada Kozulić giving the opening address. Photo: Dinka Barbić

The event was a resounding success from all points of view. When Jelena described the proposed fair to us she said that it would probably not raise much money. In the event sales and donations amounted to 2,346.40 kn. The proceeds were paid into the Eco Hvar account the following day, and represented a very welcome and substantial contribution to our Charity, which depends entirely on donations.

Donation box designed by the children. Photo: Dinka Barbić

We were all the more grateful that this splendid children's initiative was directed towards Eco Hvar, as it is only the second fundraising event held for our benefit, following the equally successful 'Concert for Us' staged in Jelsa on October 14th 2018.

Our greatest pleasure was derived from the energy, enthusiasm and expertise demonstrated by these very capable young children. Apathy in Croatia is summed up in the expression "that's how it is" ("to je tako"), which implies the subtext "don't bother trying, we can't do anything about it". The example set by Kai, Tonka and their associates shows that some young people do not accept this mindset: on the contrary they are prepared to put a lot of effort into bringing about change and doing good. It is good to feel that the future is held safe in their hands!

© Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon) 2019.

*PlatFORma is a local Hvar charity focussing on promoting and improving Hvar's cultural-social activities. It acts as an umbrella charity helping other local charities, and has introduced an invaluable Events calendar for the island.

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    Max Marcovitch is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates. Also, please consider supporting our critical work

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