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We believe that there is a strong need for diverse civil society that contributes to the moral, democratic, social and economic progress of the society.

ENERGY OF A HEART ‌ initiates

POWER OF PARTICIPATION ‌ makes us stronger

VIRTUES OF KNOWLEDGE ‌give us enough wisdom to make our actions meaningful

Volunteer centre Osijek was established on International Volunteer Day, December 5th, 2005. The Centre envisions an open democratic society based on activism, solidarity, cohesion and mutual trust. Our mission is to inspire and support active participation of citizens, development of volunteerism and civil society. Volunteer centre Osijek is open to all citizens, and its action is based on following principles: solidarity, humanity, nonviolence, acceptance of diversity, cooperation, responsibility, transparency and efficiency, autonomy and independence. The Centre strives to be innovative in its action, to be a promoter of individual's positive action within community, and to create environment and opportunities for learning and development through experience.

Volunteer centre Osijek is dedicated to the development of civil society and volunteering through: • encouraging active participation of citizens; • strengthening of social capital, mutual trust and solidarity among members of different social groups; • creating enabling environment; • strengthening sustainable infrastructure; • development of responsibly managed and effective organization with a positive impact in the community that continuously invests in the development of organizational resources.

In addition to development of our target programmes, our energy was focused on building partnership and work quality improvement. We are permanently committed to look at things from positive point of view and to achieve inclusiveness in everything we do.

I will use this opportunity to express our gratitude to the members of the Governing board for dedicated commitment and support they have been giving us over all those years. Achieving the results and skipping the obstacles would never be possible without people in our organization, who very responsibly, professionally and, most importantly, with a great motivation do their job. And finally, we are extremely grateful to the numerous volunteers who had proved that maybe it was for free, but not in the vain. Lejla Šehić Relić Executive director


DEVELOPMENT of volunteerism


Through the years of our mutual work and social interaction, Volunteer centre Osijek, more than justified my personal and professional trust. It became one of the brightest examples of how a small group of people can change the world. I'm grateful to you, my dear friends, partners and colleagues, for all your dedication, openness, responsibility, care for the community and the people in it, on your wonderful personalities, and on all ideas and actions, that contribute to the perception, understanding and nourishment of volunteerism as a "habit of the a heart". You make our town, our region, our country and our whole reality a place of real optimism, development and genuine human values. Irena Mikulić, PRONI Centre for social education


During the past 10 years, Volunteer centre Osijek left a deep mark across the sectors setting up foundations for promotion of volunteering, educations and researching the real needs within the community, implementing knowledge, ideas and practical examples of a good practice in the EU. They connected volunteers and organizations, and encouraged others through a large number of innovating volunteer projects. It is hard to list all their successes and values in a only few lines of text. It is impossible not to skip something, but it is important to mention active contribution in the creation of legislative framework, validation and rewarding of volunteering...

Personally, I was very honoured and pleased with an opportunity to continuously participate in activities of Volunteer centre Osijek during their first 10 years. I was able to contribute to the development and affirmation of volunteering and to implement it in all City administration's programmes and projects, as well as in everyday life. With that, City administration managed to open a new dimension in proactive thinking and working, innovation, motivation, and ultimately the quality of programmes enriched with synergy effects and some other values that can not be bought or artificially create. I am happy that I have participated in the growth of Volunteer centre. As an active partner I have been participating in many activities, joint projects, crisis situations, but also in the celebrations, socializing, learning, traveling, exchange of experiences, etc. At the same time, I'm suprised by the fact that I've aged 10 years. Romano Kristić Department of Social Welfare and Health of the City of Osijek

Volunteering development programme, since 2008, is co-financed by the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth.

Republic of Croatia Ministry of Social Policy and Youth


One of the key activities of the Volunteer centre Osijek is promotion of values, concept and importance of volunteering in the community.

• • • •

volunteer actions promotional campaigns annual volunteer awards ceremony promotion through media and social networks • promotional material

Volunteer matchmaking service represents a place of volunteer supply and demand information exchange. In order to make the service more accessible, organizations in need of volunteers, as well as citizens interested in volunteering can apply on line, on the web site of the Centre:

2284 volunteers matched with 186 organizations.


Volunteer award


Since 2006. in the occasion of International Volunteer Day, celebrated on the 5th of December, Volunteer centre Osijek, gives the annual volunteer awards aiming to affirm volunteering as a desirable social value and to recognize individuals and organizations working for the common good.

83 volunteer awards assigned.


Volunteer awards are assigned in four categories: • volunteer engagement of individuals, • good practice examples of involving volunteers,

• contribution of the business sector to volunteerism development, • contribution to development of school volunteering.

Education on volunteering and setting up highquality volunteer programmes

• Workshop for the future volunteers "Being a volunteer" • Education for volunteer coordinators • About 250 educated volunteer coordinator Consulting services on the possibilities of volunteering in the community, legal regulation of volunteering in Croatia, recording volunteer engagement and competences acquired through volunteering, setting up quality volunteer programmes.


Children and youth We promote the practice of education for volunteering in cooperation with schools in order to engage children and youth in volunteer activities. We also assist in development of volunteer programmes and clubs in educational institutions.

Volunteer centre Osijek introduced a school volunteering to Architectural-Geodetic School Osijek. We are successfully working together for several years. The reason behind a growing interest for volunteering among young people lies in joint activities and events, organized by the Volunteer centre. Volunteer events like "Croatia volunteers" and "Energy of the a heart" bring together pupils of different schools who wish to "change the world". Stela Macakanja Bačić, Architectural-Geodetic School Osijek

“The Generation for V – Handbook on volunteering for high school pupils"


"The Generation for V - Why and how to organize a volunteer programme in the school?"

Handbooks have been created as a joint product of regional volunteer centres (CVCN)

Every volunteer engagement I have participated in the past ten years, gave me some new life experience. Each of those experiences are unique in their own way. I developed a sense for the people and their needs and that is priceless for the work I do and love. Through volunteering, I have an opportunity to give a part of myself to the others and in return, to receive a positive human energy for myself. Silvija Srđak, volunteer

More than 25 primary and secondary schools have developed school volunteer programmes/clubs. More than 2 000 pupils active in the community.

More than 50% of the citizens interested in volunteering are young people.

For young people engaged in common good volunteer activities there is a possibility to gain and develop new skills that can be used in the labour market. Therefore, we systematically encourage young people for long-term and continuous volunteering.

Improving the quality of social services by setting up quality volunteer programmes Volunteers, as an invaluable resource in social welfare institutions, can humanize services additionally and provide social support for beneficiaries. Volunteer centre Osijek encourages the involvement of volunteers in programmes of providing social services and supports organizations and institutions in setting up and implementation of quality volunteer programmes. Established cooperation with twenty social welfare institutions and other providers of social services in the community.


Inclusive volunteering Volunteering has a potential of empowering the individual to self-esteem, sense of personal achievement, a new professional inspiration and more, and as such can specifically empower members of those groups in society who have traditional been the recipients of volunteer services. Contrary to this notion, members of groups at risk of social exclusion can bring a unique suite of values, knowledge and skills to every volunteer programme, and therefore in any organization. Around 50 volunteers have been involved.

Volunteer centre applies an innovative approach to support social groups at risk of social exclusion in the process of their integration/reintegration and improve their employability perspectives through volunteering in projects of general benefit to society.

Involvement in crisis

Last years in our community we have witnessed to natural disaster - flooding, as well as the humanitarian crisis. Such emergency situations naturally and spontaneously seek response from all stakeholders in the society. In order to provide assistance and support to the people in need, in a timely manner, from the very beginning of the crises, we organized volunteers, shared humanitarian aid

and responded to different specificities through connection with other stakeholders. The willingness of citizens to volunteer and to get involved in emergency situations, proves that our society recognizes true human values. We sincerely believe that in addition to human life, the values of humanism and solidarity are the most important capital which we are truly saving.

Volunteer centre Osijek was initiated during the time of strong need for more intensive development of volunteering in Croatia. They have grown very quickly into a strong organization that became regional volunteer center and co-founder of the Croatian Network of Volunteer Centres. They made a huge contribution to the development of volunteering in Croatia. In addition to hard work and devotion, dedication to the development of volunteerism, openness and willingness to cooperate, Volunteer centre Osijek is strongly orientated towards beneficiaries. Volunteer centre Osijek is the organization that is highly present in the community. They strive to get to know what are the needs in the community and to give to it their maximum.

We are expressing a huge gratitude and respect to VCOS team. They showed an exceptional capability and willingness to include citizens in organized volunteering, as a response to crises situations like flood in 2014 and refugee support that is still going on. We see in them a very important and valuable partner from whom we learned a lot. Although, we met a number of highly demanding challenges together, our joint work was always a pleasure and joy. VCOS is an organization with which we share the visions and dreams of a further development of volunteer values. We know we can always count on them as a partner, to turn those dreams into reality. Jela Prgić Znika and Ivana Kordić, Volunteers' Centre Zagreb

The business sector and volunteering Volunteering of the employees from the business sector is a trend in volunteering in which business sector supports and encourages employees to volunteer in the community by helping and supporting non-profit organizations and contributing to community development. Encouraging volunteering of employees, companies demonstrate to employees that the values promoted by volunteerism are also the values of the company (humanity, compassion, support, proactivity, commitment to the common good...).


Volunteer centre Osijek, in accordance with the needs of the community, each year facilitates and organizes the voluntary actions to encourage companies and their employees on active engagement and contribution to the community in which they live.


We are proud co-founders of the...

Croatian Network of Volunteer Centers contributes to building of open, democratic and vibrant society based on the active participation of citizens. The mission of the Network is to lead the development and to provide support for strengthening the resources for the affirmation of volunteering in Croatia.

Croatian Network of Volunteer Centres Founders: Volunteers' Centre Zagreb Volunteer Centre Osijek Association for Civil Society Development SMART - Volunteer Centre Rijeka Association „We“ - Volunteer Centre Split


Volunteer centre Osijek is carried out by enthusiastic team that looks far ahead and walks steadily. With their work in the community, on a national level and beyond, they contribute to a friendly environment and more human relationships and responsibilities of citizens, civil society and other stakeholders. VCOS team made a powerful impact on social processes and policies. They created important partnerships and managed to balance high values, warm relationship and work quality. We should wish them happy circumstances so they can continue to be “centre” of positive changes in their region, and friends and partners for the rest of us. Nives Ivelja, Association “We” –Split

Volunteer centre Osijek truly supports active participation of citizens, and the development of volunteerism and civil society, both in the city of Osijek, OsijekBaranja county, and on a national level. In this decade, Volunteer centre Osijek was a partner organization, an associate, an ally and the supporter for the Association SMART. Our long and successful cooperation is based on open communication, professional relationship in work, collegiality with mutual respect and support on a personal level. Slađana Novota, Association for Civil Society Development SMART


Milena Babić, Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance Vukovar

I have been in close cooperation with the Volunteer centre Osijek for several years, through joint project and activities for strengthening the capacities of civil society organizations and individuals. I consider this cooperation extremely valuable, professionally and personally. VCOS generously spreads their knowledge, raises awareness, promotes altruism and encourages actions for the benefit of the community. The direct approach, professionalism, enthusiasm and a wide range of knowledge and skills - all that makes VCOS a successful support centre. Therefore, the beneficiaries of our joint activities can return back to their communities with more confidence, enthusiasm and driving energy and with equally important cognition, that if necessary, the VCOS will be there to provide them support.



strengthening active citizenship, civil society and development of social capital based on networking, reciprocity and mutual trust.

Regional development programme of civil society and local communities "Ĺ ALTER"


To strengthen the influence of civil society, the Volunteer centre Osijek, through its Programme "Šalter", provides different models of comprehensive, systematic and continuous support, to all stakeholders interested in the development of the local community and the democratization of the Slavonia and Baranja region .

790 organizations received support through the Programme.

Regional development programme of civil society and local communities "ŠALTER" • Affirmation and promotion of the values and the role of civil society, volunteerism and other forms of active citizenship; • Providing direct and comprehensive support to civil society and local communities through strengthening organizational capacities, initiatives and active individuals involved in social development; • Increasing the capacity of communities for using EU funds through the empowerment of various stakeholders for preparation and management of EU projects (IPA, ESF);

Someone once said: "Small step for man, giant leap for mankind". Today we could say something very similar for the Volunteer centre Osijek. A small step that had been made back in 2005 as a result had a giant leap for our region. Volunteer centre Osijek managed to position itself as a relevant partner, not only to individuals and citizens who want to help others in need, but also to organizations and public administration, in their efforts to assure that volunteer contribution becomes the new value backbone of our society.


Branka Kaselj, Foundation for the Community Development “Slagalica”

• Strengthening the dialogue between associations, local and regional government, public institutions and other stakeholders interested in social development and creation of space, potential for partnership, implementation of joint activities at local and regional level; • Networking with other organizations connecting, exploring new approaches, joint actions and impacts on social development.


Educational programmes

organized through Regional development programme of civil society and local communities "Šalter" are thematically focused on the organizational development and local community development. They are implemented through the years in the form of trainings, seminars, conferences, presentations and workshops on the following topics: • Organizational capacity building • Good governance • Project Cycle Management • EU funds • Development of volunteerism • Civil society, democracy and active citizenship • Cooperation and partnership development • Local community development

Our collaboration and partnership extends from the very beginning of the Volunteer centre Osijek. I specially appreciate the genuine commitment to the values, authentic for all employees in Volunteer centre Osijek, such as solidarity, humanity and respect for diversity. Their contribution to the development of volunteerism as well as their active support of individuals and civil society organizations in eastern Croatia, have received a special significance through well-designed programmes and projects which represent the real needs of citizens at the local level. In the future, I wish them a good grounding and networking for their work within the community so they can join forces with numerous individuals, associations and communities and contribute to the civil society development. Mirela Alagić, Civic Democratic Initiatives Project


In the year 2005, I learned how to write project proposals by participating in education led by Lejla Sehic Relic, the director of the Volunteer centre Osijek. I learned how to elaborate a project idea, the difference between goals and results and how to write reports. Much more valuable than the knowledge, were acquaintances I gained with the employees of that organization. They were accessible, friendly and above all, very professional. We could call them at any time of the day and get an advice. They helped us with the applications of almost all of our projects. They implemented for us a number of trainings and panel discussions. All of us from the Association of People with Disabilities Slavonski Brod "Loco-Moto", always with the great joy, participate in events organized by the Volunteer centre Osijek. We have attended all "Šalter's" conferences, and lots of other educational events. I can say with a certainty that cooperation with the Volunteer centre Osijek made us who we are today - an association with 22 employees which provides social services for about 100 people with disabilities.

Gordana Mišković, Association of people with disabilities Slavonski Brod „Loco-Moto“

The programme is implemented in four Slavonia and Baranja counties: Osijek-Baranja county, Vukovar-Srijem county, Brod-Posavina county and Požega-Slavonia county. More than 1 200 educated individuals.


The programme is implemented by: Regional Support Centre • Volunteer Centre Osijek

Colleagues from the Volunteer centre Osijek are open, friendly and always ready to help. They keep fulfilling the mission set during the establishment of the association. By creating a positive image in the community, they helped in promotion of volunteering. They made it attractive to the people who want to enrich themselves and the community with their selfless giving. With strengthening of those communities, VCOS improved the quality of life. That is the only way to build healthy, happy and secure society for ourselves . Dijana Antunović Lazić, Executive Director of the European House Vukovar

County collaborating organizations • PRONI Centre for Social Education, branch office Vukovar • Informative Legal Centre, Slavonski Brod • Association Oppidum, Požega


Demo Academy Multidisciplinary, informal education programmes for democracy and active participation of citizens focused on development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours that are the basis for social and political engagement of citizens.

Demo Academy was conceived as an educational programme, a platform through which activists, leaders of civil society and academics offer students of Academy their knowledge, experience and view in selected thematic areas.


Volunteer centre Osijek is a place of friendship and sincere support. That place is often my sanctuary for reflection and better understanding of social and political problems our communities are facing with. The work of this organization is a great inspiration to many local organizations in Croatia. They have many years of remarkable dedication to the promotion of volunteerism and development of civil society. That activity goes beyond the area of community in which they achieve a significant contribution.

Emina BuŞinkić, Center for Peace Studies and Initiative "Welcome"

Demo Academy offers a qualitative step forward in the field of non-formal education of adults. The entire programme is based on the concept of democracy, justice, active citizenship and civil rights. The development of competences that this curriculum offers through one-year education is based on critical thinking, seeking creative solutions, constructive participation in community development and decision-making.

.hr s co v . ja i em d ka a o m de . w w w

Education understands not only acquiring civic competences but also its implementation in practice, which is reflected in recognizing the needs and problems in the community, acceptance of diversity and the ability to see the possibility of direct and effective action in mutual consultation and negotiation.


Management Volunteer centre Osijek is managed by Governing Board that consists of 5 respectable individuals from the community.

Volunteer centre Osijek has a wide network of partner and associate organizations and institutions.

The members of Governing Board from 2005 till 2015: Slađana Novota Branka Ilakovac Aron Stanić Suzana Vargović Sandra Jakelić Gordana Kovačević Silvio Ambruš Sanja Vuković Čović Denis Ćosić.

Centre has employees, professional associates and volunteers.



L. Jägera 12, Osijek phone: +385 31 211 306 fax: +385 31 200 457 e-mail:

Ivana Kuraja, volunteer

Profile for Volonterski centar Osijek

Volunteer centre booklet  

Volunteer centre booklet  


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