UNICEF awarded the best youth project for positive social change

A project from UPSHIFT received an award on World Children’s Days

30 November 2021
Članice pobjedničkog tima s predstojnicom UNICEF-a i mentorom
Inia Herenčić/UNICEF
A team of high school students - Anja Norda, Antonija and Ivan Crnogaća from Vodice with mentor Andrej Hanzir from HUKI and the representative of the UNICEF Office for Croatia Regina M. Castillo.

Zagreb, November 20th, 2021 – On World Children's Day, the UNICEF Office for Croatia presented the award for the best youth project created within the UPSHIFT program in the school year 2020/2021. The award-winning project "Society's lack of information about dyslexia" is the idea of ​​a team of high school students Anja Norda, Antonija and Ivana Crnogaća from Vodice. With financial and mentoring support, the young team also published the book ‘Reading should be accessible to all’, which serves as a guide to dyslexia.

The goal of the UPSHIFT program is to encourage the development of entrepreneurial skills and empower young people as bearers of social change in creating solutions to challenges in their communities. It is implemented within the unique UNICEF programme for adolescents and young people ZABUM - For the future of young people with support of Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI). Adolescents in the program acquire new knowledge and develop skills for analysing and solving specific problems. The best teams receive financial and mentoring support for the realization of their ideas.

So far, 272 young people from 16 counties across Croatia have presented as many as 70 projects for the UPSHIFT program, of which 34 ideas have been given the opportunity for further development and implementation in local communities. UNICEF has invested 442,500 Kuna in the implementation of these projects. Teams designed innovative solutions to problems in their local communities and social entrepreneurship projects that covered many areas, such as education, inclusion through a culture of dialogue, peer violence, anti-discrimination, mental health, intergenerational solidarity, traffic safety, environmental protection, and energy efficiency.

Dodjela nagrade pobjedničkom timu.
Inia Herenčić/UNICEF
Regina M. Castillo, Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, awards the prize to the winning team from Vodice.

"Participation of children and adolescents is one of the foundations of civil society and creating opportunities for young people to engage on key social issues has become a priority for many governments, civil society organizations, international and intergovernmental partners, as well as young people themselves. That is why UNICEF will continue to work with the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation and other partners to make UPSHIFT available to a large number of young people who will directly benefit from it by improving their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge", said Regina M. Castillo, Representative of UNICEF Office for Croatia.

Knjiga koju su izdale djevojke iz pobjedničkog tima
Inia Herenčić/UNICEF
With the financial and mentoring support, the young team of Anja Norda, Antonija and Ivana Crnogaća also published the book "Reading should be available to everyone", which is a kind of guide for dyslexia.

The main challenge of the award-winning project "Society's lack of information about dyslexia" is the society's poor knowledge about dyslexia which is a challenge about ten percent of the population faces. Through the project, the team members spread awareness and knowledge about dyslexia and encourage their local community to cooperate and make positive changes. In the book "Reading should be available to everyone", Anja Norda, decided to share her own experience with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia to bring others closer to the challenges but also share advice on how it is to live with such obstacles. Anja Norda, Antonija and Ivana Crnogaća got full support from their mentor Andrej Hanzir from HUKI, as well as Mihaela Lulić, Master of Speech Therapy, and the editor Marijeta Matijaš.

"UPSHIFT was particularly important for me because it encouraged me to think and act in the long run and to start seriously planning my project, but also my life's wishes and ambitions. This award really means a lot to the whole team and is proof that we are on the right track and that our efforts have been recognized. Providing support to young people is extremely important because young people are the future of our society, our country and life in general in this world", said Anja Norda after receiving the award.



World Children's Day is celebrated every year on November 20th. On that day in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted. As an international document of the United Nations, the Convention contains universal standards states must guarantee to every child. The Convention was then signed by 196 countries, making it the fastest and most widely accepted agreement in the field of international human rights in history. In this way, the world has promised that all children will be guaranteed equal rights and that they will do everything to protect and ensure their rights to survival, development, learning and development to their full potential, without discrimination.

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