The Human Safety Net’s NGO partner in Croatia, Rastimo Zajedno, has been recognised as providing one of the top three most effective digital tools in Europe for engaging families in Early Childhood Development programmes.
In new research published this year, Rastimo Zajedno’s work supporting families living in vulnerable circumstances in Croatia was highlighted as being ‘best practice’. The European Families Network also nominated the NGO as a Regional Champion on its website.
Rastimo Zajedno's Centre for Parenting Support, called ‘Growing up Together’, coordinates a national network of practitioners from different disciplines and sectors, who together provide parenting and family support to families with young children.
Rastimo Zajedno was one of four NGOs selected to receive support from The Human Safety Net’s Scale Up Impact initiative in 2021. Scale Up Impact identifies high-potential programmes that have a proven impact and gives them both financial and non-financial support over a number of years to build up their capacity and amplify their social impact. Using this additional support, Rastimo Zajedno has now expanded its workshops for parents, as well as its collaboration with government-run family centers.
The NGO’s offering now also supports the parents of children with disabilities, vulnerable parents, fathers, divorced fathers and adoptive parents. Franjo Saban, a Rastimo Zajedno group leader, explained: “Our programmes have become more interconnected, and they are growing. By expanding the range of our workshops, we are able to help more parents overcome the numerous challenges of today’s parenting.”
Another group leader, Tilja Zunic Kolundzic, said: “The programmes give the parents something they never expected – the tools to recognise their own parental strengths, which makes them the best parents. We help them realize that they are the best experts of their children.”
The NGO’s mission is to ensure that every parent has access to support and resources to meet both their psychological and social needs. As one of the mothers taking part in the programme said: “It’s exceptionally difficult being a parent today, because we’re facing more challenges imposed by the outside world.”
Watch the video of parents and children supported by Rastimo Zajedno
Another mother added: “These workshops have enabled me to share my experiences with others. You realise you are not alone.” And a participating father said: “I improved my communication and relationship with my kids, definitely. The kids like spending time with me more, we play more, talk more, we even cook together sometimes.”