Building bridges – from one community to another

Working with refugee women in Croatia has been a rewarding work for Living Atelier that has pushed many personal boundaries within individuals and communities. The City of Zagreb became a starting point for many of the women seeking asylum in Croatia or already having a status. As the community of Zagreb survived an earthquake in March 2020 and the lockdown due to the covid-19 crisis – we needed to step out from the city into peaceful and calm surroundings. The group of local and refugee women decided to visit a village Kuterevo in the Lika region. We were hosted by volunteers from Velebit Association Kuterevo that manages Bear Refugee and lives on sustainable principles. The trip literally inserted us from the city into the nature peace and calmness, but also simplicity. Women that have in the past lived in rural areas of their home countries, sharing their everyday live with elderly people, taking care od the land – saw that this can also be presence in Croatia. And with that, this presence reminded them of their past lives. The three days spend in the wooden cottage in the village of Kuterevo in Lika mountains created bridges between youth and eldrely, known and unknown, past and present. We have visited elderly people in the village and talked to them – in Croatian, Arabic and Farsi. Handmade works were exchanged, and roots were set – the Velebit Association Kuterevo ask refugee women to plant several special plants and live their roots in the village. This way a part of them reminaed in the village, on the mountain. It was a unique moment of welcome. And a bridge that was buildm between individuals but also communities.