Eco Centre Latinovac

NGO “Eco Centre Latinovac” was established in 1995, with the primary mission to promote and educate in:
– Conflict resolution and community building
– Sustainable and renewable environmental practices
– Reviving and preserving cultural traditions, heritage and the arts.

Eco Centre Latinovac has hosted many educational programs, cooperative projects, and volunteer initiatives and camps in the areas of mediation and conflict resolution, environmental awareness, and preservation and promotion of cultural traditions and heritage.
Ms Branka Drabek Milekić, head of the Eco Centre has many years of experience in professional psychological practice with war veterans, disabled workers and people with developmental disabilities, psychology of communication and dealing in the conflict situations, working with children, young people and adults, developing and promoting non-violent communication and tolerance, and managing volunteer camps together with colleagues.

About volunteers:
All volunteers who are already engaged or are interested in nature and its protection, sustainable community development, ecology, rural development, different cultures, peace building, tolerance and personal development are welcome to Latinovac. At least basic English is required. Volunteers will be selected in accordance with their expressed interest and motivation for the work of Eco Centre, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, education or economic status. They should have some ability to work in a team, are flexible, open-minded, willing to take challenges, interested in different cultures, motivated about being a part of this project, ready to share their experience and learn from others, and are willing to live in very modest and simple furnished accommodation.

  • • 3 volunteers for 5 months
  • • 17 volunteers for 2 months for summer and fall camp

We plan to continuously involve a smaller (up to 3) number of volunteers for a longer time (up to 10 months), and a larger number of volunteers, for up to 2 months, for the summer and/or fall camp.

We would like to cooperate with hosting organizations that have common interests as the Eco Centre Latinovac; culture of peace, sustainable community development, rural development, individual development, ecology, permaculture etc.

Camp “Livadak” 2012:

Through EVS we want to start a new project; Camp “Livadak” 2012:

It consists of two basic activities for which we are looking for volunteers, 20 in total:

First activity: we need 3 volunteers who would be present for five months April – August at Eco Centre Latinovac. Together with members of the Centre they shall carry out all preparatory activities for the voluntary camp, participate in the camp, and after the camp work on closing up, remaining for the final process and evaluation.

It includes:
– preparing facilities for the volunteer camp (cleaning, minor painting and decorating, restoration)
– gardening, planting fruit trees, planting vegetables and flowers
– the preparation of materials and updating them on website
– assistance in coordinating the arrival of volunteers to volunteer Camp
– participating in camp “Livadak”
– the finalization of camp, project, summarizing the success of the camp etc.

Second activity: Volunteer Camp “Livadak” 2012, which lasts for 2 months in the period June – July, for which we are looking for 17 volunteers.

It includes activities such as: planting a garden and seasonal work, painting, repairing and restoration of buildings, clearing and cleaning, building paths, fixing the roof and similar work. Activities will be done under professional guidance and supervision.

Also our plan is to have a special weekends, such as “Working weekend” that will involve all local volunteers who want to come from surrounding towns, “Work, meet, share weekend” when we will invite all EVS volunteers who are currently in Croatia and Croatian volunteers who were somewhere in the EVS service and now they have returned to Croatia, “My initiative weekend” when volunteers would implement their own initiative that they themselves have created etc.

We are also very open to any ideas that may come from sending organizations.

Volunteers will also have free days and they will be able to use them as they wish. Generally, a volunteer would work a 6 hours per day, 30 hours a week. Sometimes weekends would be free and sometimes Monday and Tuesdays would be free if there was a “working weekend organized”.

A typical day for the volunteer would look like: A common breakfast, restoration of the dormitory building or painting, lunch, free time or a tour of the forest / town or a workshop, etc. dinner, socializing, sleeping. Sometimes the whole day will be filled with activities, and sometime days will be a lot more relaxed, depending on the type of daily job that is being done.

Project environment:

The project will take place in Eco Centre Latinovac which is situated in village Latinovac in Pozega-Slavonia County in Croatia. The village has about 80 inhabitants. It is in the middle of the Valis Aurea (Golden Valley), and it is surrounded by wheat and corn fields, meadows, groves, vineyards and hills covered with forests. There is no industry and pollutants. In only 15 km distance is Nature and geo park “Papuk”. Village is populated with mostly Serbian population (biggest ethnic minority in Croatia) and it is surrounded by villages with predominantly Croatian population. They have a long history of living in good and neighbourly relations.

The village is small, but its people are already accustomed to international volunteers, camps and events at the Eco Centre. Occasionally they participate in our events. In the village there are people of Croatian and Serbian nationality, and since the time of the war, eco-centre has served as a source of reconciliation and mediation. Today the situation is stabilized and satisfactory, so centre is now more dedicated to ecology, rural development, community development and living in peace with nature, ourselves and others. During the camp volunteers will meet local residents and experience nearby cities with their culture of life and nearby nature.

The village does not offer any modern forms of entertainment or infrastructure such as theatres and clubs, nor it has big store, ambulance etc. For all that is needed, it is necessary to go to the nearby village Caglin (5km) or to some of the surrounding towns or wait for the mobile bus/store which on daily basis comes in front of the Center. However, you can get in Latinovac, a typical household products from village people, such as season fruit and vegetables, flower, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, meat products, jams etc. Caglin has a store, post office, gas station, primary school, basic medical ambulance and dentist. The inhabitants are engaged mainly in farming and winemaking, but they live on very low income. There is no industry nearby so natural beauty is preserved. There are six small towns with interesting historical sites and buildings located relatively close to the village.

Service and learning opportunities:
Education on healthy lifestyles in a healthy environment
Promotion and protection of nature, preservation of bio-diversity
Informing and raising awareness about the threats for eco-systems and the need to preserve a healthy environment for housing, recreation and spending free time in nature for personal and community development
Informal and non-formal education on ecology, intercultural  communication skills
Programs for sport, recreation, psychosocial workshops and recovery
Practicing ecological, healthy and tolerant attitude towards yourself, other people and empowering individuals and community groups to undertake various initiatives in their communities
Education on community actions in the rural environment (traditional village) and the creation of creative space for learning and developing healthy relationships with other people, tolerance in society, empowerment of individuals and communities and promotion of volunteer work
The foundations of learning are non-violent communication and mediation that develop social skills, enhance competence, thus self-esteem, and teach tolerance and cooperative relations.

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