Two Steps Forward
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Two Steps Forward

Our associates in Dubrovnik renovate a center for special-needs children

In 2002, the Dva Skalina (literally, "Two Steps") association was founded in Dubrovnik by a group of parents whose children have severe special needs. Their mission is to promote a better quality of life for their children, and to improve the level of social and medical support they receive. "Children with special needs depend entirely upon someone else," says Sanja Dragic, Grand Circle's Manager of Regional People & Culture in Europe. "Considering the extent of their disabilities, they cannot participate in schooling programs—even in special schools. But still, they all have the need to go out of their homes and socialize."

To this end, Dva Skalina began a daycare center for special needs children in 2005. "The parents want their children to be with their families, but also to have daily therapy and the company of other children," explains Sanja. Today, the center arranges transportation for the children between the center and their homes, and employs two nurses, a physiotherapist, and a rehabilitator.

On September 8, 2012, Sanja and her fellow Dubrovnik associates spent their Saturday at the Dva Skalina daycare center for a day of community service. After removing all of the furniture, the team painted the entire interior of the center. Once the paint dried, they gave the rooms a thorough cleaning, and returned everything to its original place. Hard work, to be sure—but according to Sanja, it was incredibly rewarding. "We were honored with the presence of several parents and their children," she says. "They shared with us their experiences, and the problems they encounter in their everyday lives."

As a result, the team left the center with a bit of perspective. "I believe I can say, on behalf of all the associates who participated, that we felt gratitude for our health and our families," Sanja reflects. "We are cognizant of the fact that most of our 'problems' are not very big compared to the challenges and burden these people face."

Featured in our September/October 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.