Community of Mošćenička Draga
The Brseč pond is more than 200 years old and it has been marked already on Austrian historic cartography from 1821. The pond was in use as the main water source for the local community and accordingly as an important point for social gatherings. We want to bring it back to life; both pond and the idea of social and communal space it once represented. By rebuilding the pond together we will rebuild a broken community.
Community of Mošćenička Draga, the medieval town of Brseč, Primorsko-goranska county, west Croatia.
The main problem of the region is a massive depopulation peculiar to rural communities within Croatia. Due to the negligence of centralized governance in Zagreb the young inhabitants of Brseč rather chose to seek opportunities elsewhere. Since the school children are few the county authorities see no reason to run the local school anymore. Once vibrant small community seems to live only in the memory of its elder citizens. The negligence of the Croatian government for its rural development in favor of the mono-economy of tourism is about to void the town of its inhabitants and make it just another picturesque but lifeless empty scenery for tourists. We want to preserve Brseč as a sustainable community with a diverse economy; both rural and service-oriented.
Our idea is to bring a breath of action and participation in restoring the biggest and central pond in Brseč. The local community will be involved through public lectures explaining the methodology and the historical importance of the local resources followed by practical workshops delivered by artisans in the field of old crafts like a pond and dry stone wall reconstruction. Our idea is that people working together live the idea of a local community restored. The common work in the pond reconstruction will restore also the broken neighborhood relationships caused by depopulation and economic and social devastation based on the mono-economy of tourism. We want to reenhance a lost awareness for the common public places and a common good in general.
The project is looking to include an intergenerational specter of community members. Apart from our association, there are also two other associations included in the project and in the workshops: "Građani Brseča and "Jenio Sisolski" .Brseč is a poorly known little town even in its neighborhood. Our project endeavors to raise awareness of what Brseč as a rural habitat and a cultural heritage. The inhabitants of Brseč feel lethargic for it seems that nothing is ever happening in town. Our goal is to engage the citizens and together that we prove that it is possible to reverse the downwards flow. Our NGO is already running a project to valorize the famous garlic of Brseč. This project will be a continuation of our endeavors on a larger social basis.
1) Advocating for our idea through social media and connecting local people with volunteers from the region.
2) Assembling the local organizations and the citizens of Brseč and explaining our goals and advocating participation.
3) Organizing classrooms about ponds and dry stone walls techniques in the former elementary school in Brseč (now seat of our NGO) for the inhabitants and guests
4) Reconstruction of the Brseč pond
5) Reconstruction of the dry-stone wall around and in the pond of Brseč
6) Cleansing of the surroundings
7) Installing benches
8) Dissemination of results through media
9) Installing an inscription in the Croatian language "Lokva je naša" meaning "Pond is ous" and panel explaining historical and social importance of the pond in Brseč past times
Brseč will be a socially reconnected place. The pond will be vital and a place where individuals, couples, and families enjoy spending their free time. There will be an awareness of the importance of historical cultural and biological topoi. The local community will use this location for recreation, swimming, and dwelling in nature whereas the guests of Brseč can also enjoy birdwatching. The pond is among rare places in the region where migrating birds can stop for a rest. After all, this is the biggest pond on the Učka mountain and a reason to be proud that our ancestors built such an immense rural infrastructure. The most important result is that the inhabitants of Brseč will become aware that they can make a difference in the and be an example for other communities to do the same.
A depopulated towns with aging populations, the lack of future perspectives for young generations, and vanishing communities pose problems for most European democracies. They reduce local autonomies and shift the decision making towards big centers. In order to preserve democracy, we must preserve civic virtue and civic cohesion. When people work together solidarity is born and apathy defeated and apathy is the worst enemy of electoral democracy. People must believe that they can change their communities if they engage themselves with a common agenda. Together we can be a proud example for other communities how private, public, and civic sectors can join forces for the greater common good.
Personally, Brseč is the birthplace of my passed away grandmother Maria Hrelja Aštalić called Nevia. She is the reason why I believe and I always felt that I have some work to do for these communities in her name. My mission is to revive Brseč because of her. Our president Florian Franković is the last of his family to remain in Brseč and he is very motivated to make Brseč a better place. We and other members decided to give new life to a semi-abandoned place protecting and planting a specific type of garlic that Brseč is famous for and to motivate others to start a new life in agriculture. Garlic however is just is a means, not a goal. The very goal is to bring life back to Brseč by restoring the landscape and build a sustainable economy, and hopefully, a new life.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1) 20.000EUR pond reconstruction expenses (artisan Kallokva jdo,o)
2) 15.000EUR dry stone wall reconstruction expenses (NGO Dragodid workshop dry stone) walling)
3) 5.000 EUR pier dry -stone wall reconstruction expenses. The pond has a pier for little boats (Citadela d.o.o.)
4) 7.000EUR manutention of the surrounding pond, installation of benches and inscription "Lokva je naša-The pond is our" with historical texts. (Mjesto pod suncem d.o.o)
5) 3000EUR Administration and accounting: External
We will be happy about all forms of feedback in both written and oral form and through every social media.