More than 1000 stars already shine at UNICEF's Milky Way Race!

National and inclusive humanitarian Milky Way Race will be held from September 9 to 18, with early bird start packages available until June 24

17 June 2022
Bojana Gregorić Vejzović
Bojana Gregorić Vejzović

Zagreb, June 17, 2022 – This year, once again, UNICEF is organizing its traditional humanitarian Milky Way Race which will take place from September 9 to 18on thousands of paths, via mobile application and live events, and will gather participants from all parts of Croatia around a common goal – support the mental health of children and young people in schools. Just 10 days after the start of registration, more than 1,000 participants have registered for the race, and this year the race is supported by many partners, companies, and public figures.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, but stigma remains a strong barrier. That is why many children and many young people shut down and isolate themselves, and no one should be left alone when facing with difficult situations. Every child and young person, regardless of where they live, has the right to support, protection and care for mental health, so that they can develop, progress, and lead a fulfilled life. It is the responsibility of adults to offer them support, understanding and security and to help them feel that they are not alone. Join Milky Way Race and let’s support the mental health of children and young people in schools together and help remove stigma and misunderstandings in our society”, says UNICEF Ambassador Bojana Gregorić Vejzović.

Through Milky Way Race UNICEF will support standardized mental health literacy program for teachers “PoMoZi Da” carried out by the Croatian Institute for Public Health with support of Education and Teacher Training Agency, and the funds raised will be invested in:

  • Training of teachers and other professional staff in schools and dormitories to identify mental health problems in children and young people and provide psychological first aid and support
  • Training of new educators for teachers and other professional staff in schools, in order to maintain the implementation of the program throughout Croatia
  • Improving the competencies of educators in the field of helping children and young people who are contemplating suicide
  • Development of education with a focus on helping children and young people deal with trauma

It is estimated that by investment made in the period after the Milky Way 2022 Race  will affect

  • more than 400 teachers will be trained to support the mental health of children and young people
  • more than 20,000 primary and secondary school students will have direct benefits
Mirna Medaković Stepinac
Mirna Medaković Stepinac

“Talking about mental health is the first step in overcoming stigma. We all need to work to break the silence over mental health – remove prejudice, raise mental health literacy, and ensure that the voices of young people are heard. That is why I am very glad to participate in the UNICEF Milky Way this year. I will proudly wear a green ribbon badge this year instead of a medal during as well as after the race to help raise awareness of the importance of mental health care”, says UNICEF Ambassador Mirna Medaković Stepinac.

The green ribbon is a symbol of mental health awareness. This year, in addition to participation, donation, and a racing T-shirt, all participants who purchase the Golden Star package, which is available until June 24th, 2022 at a special early bird price, will get the green ribbon badge.

Nataša Sobočan
Nataša Sobočan

“For the third year in a row, I am happy to join the UNICEF Milky Way because it really makes an important difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. The mental health of children and young people is an extremely important topic that needs to be constantly discussed. Both children and young people need support, but also adults, so that they can provide them with the initial help which is often crucial. From my own experience, I can testify to how important it is to know that you are not alone when you need help, when you feel insecure or when you are having a hard time. That is why I am extremely happy to participate in the Milky Way and that I can invite everyone to get involved and invest the time they dedicate to themselves through any physical activity into supporting the mental health of children and young people”, said Paralympian Nataša Sobočan.

UNICEF's humanitarian Milky Way Race 2022 will take place on thousands of paths across Croatia over 10 days, from September 9th to 18th via mobile app and live events. Children, young people, families, runners, associations, clubs, and everyone else can join by walking, running, cycling, rollerblading or in wheelchairs. Their messages of support and donations will help raise awareness on the importance of mental health of children and young people in Croatia.

The Milky Way race is being organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Education and the Ministry of Health. Every year, the number of corporate partners increases. Among them, Kaufland Croatia and Privredna banka Zagreb stand out with Kaufland as a main sponsor since the first edition of the race which was held in 2017.

Sign up for UNICEF's Milky Way Race at:, early bird start packages at special price are available until June 24th, 2022.

More information is available at the official Facebook event of the race and at where you can also find Tips for Preserving Mental Health.

--- UNICEF humanitarian Milky Way Race – achievements in the first 5 years ---

This year, the Milky Way Race is held for the sixth time in a row, and in the period from 2017 to 2021 it became an important platform for raising awareness as well as funds for key investments in child welfare through UNICEF programs in Croatia. With the support of more than 20,000 participants, in the first five years of the Milky Way race, HRK 4.5 million was raised to support the most vulnerable children in Croatia. With these funds, UNICEF supported the opening of a national human milk bank, provided financial support to foster families with the youngest children, provided equipment to all maternity wards in Croatia and supported the establishment of services for children with disabilities and their families.

Media contacts

Morana Tuškan
Communication Associate


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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