Croatian Play Hubs

Sisak

In Sisak the Play Hub is located in the primary school of Braća Bobetko. Many children go there after school. There is a large Roma community in Sisak, 2.165 Roma people out of a total population of 61.497. Children from the Roma settlements in the surroundings also join the Play Hub activities.

The Play Hub was opened by the mayor Kristina Baniček and by Klara Perković, mayor of the children’s city council. The opening ceremony was highly attended by the local community: children, parents, grandparents and volunteers. The municipality of Sisak has also produced a booklet to promote the project.

The Play Hub opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 17:00 to 19:00.

Orehovica

Orehovica is a municipality in Međimurje County with 2.685 inhabitants (1.965 adults and 720 children). A large Roma community lives in this municipality (18,9 percent of the whole population), many of them are unemployed.

Most Roma speak Croatian as a second language and Bayash language as first. According to the given data, all children are enrolled in both preschool and school but retention and attendance rates are lower than country average. The Play Hub is located in the primary school and opens twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday. It organizes stay and play sessions, reading aloud activities, arts and crafts, workshops for parents.

KURŠANEC

Kuršanec is a settlement inhabited by a large number of Roma families. In cooperation with the local municipality, the Play Hub opened in March 2022, and is located in the Roma Family Center in order to include as many children of the Roma population as possible through quality informal services. The big opening ceremony was highly attended by children, their families, journalists and some UNICEF’s ambassadors. Everyone was especially delighted with the speech of the children’s mayor who took the guests to see the Play Hub.

Currently there are also students from Faculty of Teacher Education who often come and play with children. The Play Hub also plays an important role when it comes to the small number of Roma children involved in preschool programs, namely the role of the Play Hub is not a substitute for kindergarten but a complement to formal education services and above all acts as a place of integration.

Main contact person is Spomenka Švenda ( spomenka.svenda@gmail.com )

DRŽIMUREC STRELEC

Držimurec Strelec is part of the municipality Mala Subotica. According to the 2011 census, out of a total population of 4,728, the number of Roma is 694, or 13%. Since then, the number of Roma population has increased significantly due to immigration. The Play Hub is open next to the ‘Social home’ and makes it familiar and an easily accessible location. It is open twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday or Tuesday and Saturday.

Activities for parents are also organized when is possible. The Play Hub enables intergenerational learning, social cohesion among children and adults, and informal meetings of family members and professionals. In addition, the toy library, which is an integral part of the Game Center, offers children didactic toys that they can borrow and take home. There are currently about 500 toys in the library.

Main contact person is Dijana Horvat (dijana-petran@hotmail.com)

PRIBISLAVEC

Pribislavec is a municipality in Međimurje County, in northern Croatia, with a large number of Roma families. According to the 2021 census, Pribislavec has a total population of 2,963 out of which 26% make Roma.

The Play Hub is situated in the building of the municipality, in the heart of the municipality itself, making it this way easily accessible to its visitors. The Play Hub is open twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays in the afternoon hours.

During working hours, the Play Hub welcomes all children and parents, offering them various choices of activities such as play sessions, making arts and crafts, reading activities, workshops for parents and children, etc. Visits of various volunteers are often organized for children and parents as well, such as visits of volunteers from Médecins du Monde, dentists, artists, or students. The toy library is also a part of the Play Hub, and it offers children various didactic toys they can borrow and take home.

The main contact persons are Marijana Sabo (marijana.varga7@gmail.com) and Natalija Sklepić (nata.sklepic@gmail.com).


The creation of the Play Hubs in Croatia was made possible thanks to the REYN National Coordinator in Croatia Korak Po Korak. For more information, you can contact Bojana Gotlin (bojana@korakpokorak.hr).