“Znanje je svjetlost” – Knowledge is enlightenment: Humanity First Croatia assists children starting school


Rana Munawwar Muhammad, President Jamaat Croatia

Humanity First Hrvatska (Croatia) had the opportunity to assist and support children attending the new school year 2021/22. This project has been running in Croatia for many years and is part of the global initiative “Knowledge for life” of Humanity First International to provide education in various forms to poor and unprivileged children around the world. 

Humanity First Croatia is very active in this initiative and has dedicated a separate sub-project in this category with the name “Znanje je svjetlost” (knowledge is enlightenment). The aim of this project is to equip children at the start of the new school year with necessary school stationery items.

Many researchers and professionals have put forward the argument that one of the most effective tools to put an end to poverty and to accelerate the state of well-being of a country is to provide education to its citizen. This is why Humanity First – through this project – wants to bring light in those houses where, otherwise, darkness has built its nest. 

In terms of implementing the project, Humanity First is cooperating with other local organisations as well as schools to make this project come true. An essential part for the project to be successful is good communication with the school stationery suppliers. We are very grateful to Narodne Novine who provides us reasonable offers for the purchase of school items necessary to prepare good quality school essentials for children. This, in addition, allows us to expand the list of children we can help.

Once the list of schools and needy children is approved, school items are bought and packed. These essential school packets include over 25 items from pens, pencils, erasers, coloring pencils and even scissors and are divided in four categories: 1-4th grade girls; 1-4th grade boys; 5-8th grade girls; 5-8th grade boys. 

Our usual feedback about these packets is that many consider them to be Christmas presents. This, in fact, fulfills the intention of Humanity First that these school presents should create a warm and pleasant atmosphere and bring joy to the children who otherwise are stuck in problems in school or their homes.

The start of the Humanity First school stationery donation marathon took place on 19 August 2021 at the Kuća sv. Josipa za nezbrinutu djecu (orphan house) in Leskovac, and was held on 19 August 2021.

The orphan house received a school bag and 13 school stationery packets. Sister Katarina Pisković the director of the orphan house said:

“The beginning of the school and pedagogical year is always a bit stressful for us because we know that 26 pupils and four students need to be equipped for school and studies. Many times we have witnessed that God cares for His little ones and always finds ways to help them. We have experienced many times that you have stood by us and raised the quality of life in our homes in various ways. We would like to sincerely thank you for your support and material assistance by the donation of school supplies.”

The second stop of this journey was at the Kuća za zbrinjavanje djece i odraslih osoba s tjelesnim i mentalnim oštećenjem Bl. Alojzije Stepinac (house for children with physical and mental health issues) in Brezovica.

Humanity First provided them with 35 school bags. All school bags were donated to the students while taking into consideration their class and their gender, to make them feel more comfortable in school.

Kuća Brezovica wrote on their Facebook:

“A GIFT TO SCHOOL CHILDREN – Once someone remembers you, it is wonderful, but when someone often thinks of you and takes care of you, it is really something special. So, our dear friends and neighbours from Humanity First remembered us and made sure to give our students who attend school, beautiful and quality school bags. Thank you for helping us to make visiting school as joyful as possible […] thank you very much to Mrs Marina for being always by our side and to be with us here today.”

The third stop was at the elementary school Soblinec, on 13 September 2021. In total 48 children received school packets, five school bags and all of them were given t-shirts. 

The school director, Mrs Leonida Udovičić said:

“At the end of last school year, we were pleased with the enquiry from the organisation Humanity First if we want to receive a donation of humanitarian supplies for our students. We quickly called the parents of the students and got their consents to participate in this project. On Monday, September 13, 2021, 48 packages of school supplies, five school bags and 53 t-shirts for sports were donated to the school. These are packets that include notebooks, writing utensils, art supplies, geometric accessories, etc. We thank the organisation Humanity First Croatia for helping us to make students happy with these beautiful packages this year and making it a little easier for parents to buy supplies at the start of the new school year.”

Then, we headed towards the elementary school in Kašina, on 15 September 2021. They received eight school packets with t-shirts. A very interesting feature of our arrival in the school was that during our stay we were under constant observation of the young and talented journalists who in addition recorded a small interview of the Humanity First members and published their hard work on their school web page. Here is an extract:

“Two volunteers visited us who brought with them a dozen packages containing notebooks, pens, crayons […] mostly school supplies, and later took photos with the students. The principal of our school, Vladimir Vuger, welcomed them with a speech in which he thanked them for the nice gesture for our students. Dorotea Sudar, Lana Đurković and Malena Hrustić interviewed the volunteers who visited the Vugrovec-Kašina Elementary School today […] We are very grateful for the gifts that Humanity First Croatia gave us this year. I hope that they will come to us again and that Zmajček‘s journalists will be able to interview them again.”

Our fifth stop was at the elementary school in Horvati, on 14 September 2021. Here we could help seven students to get equiped with school stationery and t-shirts with Humanity First Logo for their sports classes.

Our final destination was marked at the elementary school in Brezovica, on 15 September 2021. In total 80 school packets with t-shirts were donated to the school. The school staff started the distribution the day after.

The director of the school, Darko Rogalo said:

“Even though the day was illuminated by the sun yesterday, happiness was driven even more by the children’s smiles because they saw that someone was thinking of them. Thank you up to the heaven.”

I hope that by these humanitarian efforts of Humanity First Croatia we could motivate others to step up and look for possibilities to give shelter to the needy living in their neighbourhood. 

I would like to request the readers of Al Hakam to pray for the donors from all around the world, specifically from Germany who financed this very humble donation.

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