Friends of UNICEF join the celebration of UNICEF 75th anniversary
UNICEF ambassadors, families, children, young people, companies, donors ... They all support UNICEF in creating a world tailored for every child
This year, on December 11th, UNICEF marks 75 years of tireless work dedicated to the most vulnerable children in Croatia and the world. In this long period, we’ve changed the reality for millions of children.
That is why it brings us much joy to take a walk down the memory lane to remember many achievements done for children, young people, and their families in Croatia. We also believe it is best to mark such an occasion and to use this opportunity to thank “Friends of UNICEF” – ambassadors, children, families, young people, companies, individuals and partners who support us and help us fulfil our mission for every child!
We have prepared special, unique recognition awards for “Friends of UNICEF”!
These awards, unique plaques with their names, as a lasting memory for “Friends of UNICEF” were painted by children with disabilities and therapists gathered in the Day Care Center for Rehabilitation of Children and Young Adults “Mali dom – Zagreb”. Each plaque is unique, but they are all connected by the great effort and creativity of young authors who signed them.
Bojana Gregorić Vejzović has been tirelessly participating in the promotion of children's and young people's rights for 17 years and supports numerous UNICEF activities, always emphasizing how honoured she is to be a UNICEF ambassador. She started her journey with UNICEF as the face of the “Every Child Needs a Family” campaign, and was also involved in campaigns for children with disabilities, children at risk of crisis in Croatia and the world, and in 2019 she visited a refugee camp in Jordan.
Mirna Medaković Stepinac was named UNICEF ambassador with a focus on early childhood development in 2018, but she is also an active public supporter of UNICEF's work to promote children's participation, development of reading skills and early childhood education since 2013.
Maja Vučić became a UNICEF ambassador in 2006 with a special focus on early parenthood and the earliest development of children, as the face of the “First Three Are Most Important” campaign. Since then, she has supported numerous UNICEF campaigns and activities in Croatia and around the world, representing UNICEF on missions in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, and Cambodia.
Zlatan Stipišić Gibonni is the first Croatian UNICEF ambassador, appointed in 2003 to support the “Stop Violence Among Children” campaign and program. Since then, he has participated in numerous UNICEF projects through public advocacy for the protection of children from violence and discrimination and by helping to raise funds. He has made a valuable contribution to improving the position of the most vulnerable children in Croatia and the world
Slaven Bilić was appointed UNICEF ambassador in 2008, when he was the face of the “Break the Chain” campaign, aimed at preventing electronic violence among children. He has participated in numerous actions that promote children's rights, especially the rights of children in the world of new media and the protection of children from violence. He has also promoted the initiative “Cities and Municipalities Friends of Children”.
Junior Ambassadors for the Rights of Children and Young People to the EU
As part of a joint project of UNICEF and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, eleven young people aged 13 to 17 from different parts of Croatia were selected in early 2020 as Junior Ambassadors for the Rights of Children and Young People to the EU
Dominik Budimir, Aleksej Leon Gajica, Gabrijela Ivanjko, Ema Korotaj, Karla Mak, Gabrijela Papec, Borna Štiglec, Nina Topić, Borna Turalija, Barbara Vukas and Mihovil Vuksanović stood out with their motivation, interests, and desire to be the voice of their peers among decision makers. During their two-year term, they often got involved in various activities.
Children and young people, members of the Advisory Board for Children's Participation and the Advisory Board for Children's Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility
The Advisory Board for Children's Participation of the UNICEF Office for Croatia brings together children, young people, and professionals with the aim of improving public policies and practices in the field of children's rights and children's participation. One of the goals of the Advisory Board is to create materials and tools that will help promote and more purposefully achieve the participation of children and young people.
Members: Matija Dražetić, Jan Galić, Mladen Ignac, Anja Petrinec, Karla Škrlec and Stela Tonner.
Members of the Advisory Board for Children's Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility help to make children's voices strongly heard in the business community and to recognize the rights of children and young people as an important topic of corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Croatia. Together with their peers, they actively advocated for children's rights in the role of Young Advisers to the Ombudsperson for Children.
Members: Fran Baretić, Patricia Čretni, Lana Miličević, Karla Škrlec and Stela Tonner.
Children, young people, families, public figures, companies, and long-time UNICEF supporters
The Kokotović family has been participating in UNICEF's campaigns to support children with disabilities for years. They actively advocate for equal opportunities for every child in Croatia. Through their experiences, they raise public awareness on the importance of professional support for children with disabilities from the very beginning, so that all children with disabilities can live up to their full potential and live as equal members of society.
Marin Čilić has been advocating and investing in better opportunities for children and young people in Croatia for years, and for several years in a row he has been supporting the UNICEF Milky Way race, helping to raise funds to support children, young people and families in Croatia. He expressed special support to group of young people who gathered in a team named “Stars of the Children's Rights” in 2019 edition of the race to convey messages about the importance of respecting the rights of children and young people as a basis for creating opportunities to realize their full potential.
Renato and Leone Brašnić, now 19 years old, have been involved in numerous UNICEF activities for many years with the desire to raise public awareness on the possibilities for children and young people with disabilities. They represented Croatia among 24 children from around the world at the annual conference of mayors of the most developed cities in the world “Cities for Life” in Paris where they spoke about children's rights, media freedoms and attitudes towards children with disabilities in Croatia. In 2019, they also expressed their views at the session of the Croatian Parliament in honour of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Nevena Rendeli Vejzović has been the ambassador of the Milky Way race since the first edition in 2016. In addition to actively participating in the race, she supports many other UNICEF activities and campaigns and advocates the importance of support and equal opportunities for every child.
Croatian music diva Gabi Novak has been supporting UNICEF's activities for many years in the hope that every child has a carefree and happy childhood. Among the numerous projects in which she was involved are support for the early development and opening of the Human Milk Bank, UNICEF's legacy will donation programme and the early childhood development project “Sisak Colorful Inclusion”.
Kaufland Croatia k.d. is a long-term UNICEF partner who continuously for many years provides support to UNICEF programs for the benefit of children, young people, and families in Croatia, such as the Milky Way Race. The company is a partner in the current project of equipping inclusive cabinets for practicing teaching methods and tools for working with children with disabilities at Faculty of Teacher Education in Osijek, Pula, Rijeka, Split and Zagreb to ensure better education for future educators and primary school teachers.
Prominent Paralympian Jelena Vuković gladly got involved in collecting kilometres of opportunities during both virtual editions of the Milky Way race because she knows from her own example how important support is for children with disabilities. With her story, she promoted the race and showed that difficulties can be opportunities.
Ms. Melita Salaić is a long-time UNICEF donor. She became a Childhood Guardian when she found a payment slip in her mailbox and got more information on what UNICEF is doing for the benefit of girls and boys in Croatia and the world. Melita wants adults to do their best to make sure there are no hungry and unloved children and to ensure that every child grows up in peace and security.
Nataša Sobočan, a prominent Paralympian, joined both editions of the virtual Milky Way race with the desire to support children with disabilities and convey the message of the importance of breaking down invisible barriers and inclusion, because, as she says “when children realize that difficulties are not difficulties but abilities and possibilities, only the sky is the limit!”
Arena Center is a long-term UNICEF partner which continuously supports UNICEF programs for the most vulnerable children in Croatia and the world. In addition to financial support, Arena Center has been providing UNICEF representatives of the “Childhood Guardians” program the opportunity of promotion at the Center's premises for over 10 years. Thanks to this support, UNICEF is able to include visitors of the Center in a community of noble people who are changing the world for the better
Marija Miholjek, as a television presenter and editor of Nova TV, is well aware of the importance of understanding and critical evaluation of media content, so from the very beginning she has been actively supporting the Media Literacy project. To support children with disabilities, she got actively involved in this year’s Milky Way Race.
Marija Andrijašević has been a proud ambassador of the Milky Way race since its first edition. In addition to actively participating and strongly emphasizing the goals of the race, she also stood out as a real motivator for runners. This year, she also took the roll of a host at the start of the virtual race and showed she is happy to help any way she can when it comes to supporting children with disabilities and their families.
Ivana Gažić has been an active member of UNICEF's Advisory Board for Children's Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility since its establishment in 2017. Through her engagement, she contributed to the positioning of children's rights in business as an important topic of corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Croatia, with special emphasis on the financial and investment sector. On a personal level, Ivana Gažić made an important contribution to advocating for support for children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups of children, and the Zagreb Stock Exchange, where she is positioned as Chief Executive Officer, supported the UNICEF Milky Way Race.