Success stories

Zvono - Association for Children and Youth with Disabilities

Zvono Association promotes independence for their members and develops programs for employment of people with disabilities.

Association for Children and Youth with Disabilities “Zvono” (Bell), founded by parents of children and youth with disabilities, is providing assistance and care for disabled children and youth in wider Belišće and Valpovo area (Eastern Croatia). Zvono Association promotes independence for their members and develops programs for employment of people with disabilities. It promotes the philosophy of inclusion and works to improve conditions in the local community to achieve the normalization and inclusion of persons with disabilities in that community.

Beside psycho-social care, several years ago, Zvono started its own sustainability program - a Centre for social employment of disabled youth “Citadela”. In a partnership with local government and Association for Creative Development Slap, Citadela working camp was established and put to work through several EU funded projects. A public company Croatian Woods granted to Zvono a piece of land and two devastated houses located on the edge of the woods and by the river Drava so they can freely develop their services.

Both houses were refurbished and equipped to serve as a centre for independent living and for a training centre for disabled youth. At the same time it is organized as a camp site with accommodation facilities, in-side and outdoor kitchens, seminar rooms and several picnic areas. Also, part of the project was a creation of an organic garden which is adapted for people in wheelchair. Members are regularly working in the garden, growing a variety of vegetables and different fruits and herbs.

All the fruits are used for various income generating activities:

  • Organic cosmetics
  • Souvenir products made of herbs
  • Jams and juices
  • Meals for guests/campers/seminar participants
  • Meals within catering service for the City of Belišće

At the same time, Zvono has developed several other business activities:

  • Designing and making clothes and accessories
  • Creating and producing toys and souvenir dolls
  • Providing ironing services to local hospitality enterprises
  • Doing communal and house work

Their creative and artistic works have great success as they won several prizes for design. In a constant attempt to be modern and close to the market, Zvono has participated in the Inclusive Design project run by Slap Association and funded by the British Council. In cooperation with the Hamlin School for Design from London, design week was organized, gathering an international team of designers led by inclusive design expert Julia Kassim.

They created a brand called IJUIJU and related collection of products adjusted for production by Zvono beneficiaries. Design has won several national prizes and was exhibited in London 2014 and in Zagreb during the visit of Prince of Wales to Croatia.