The Impact of Croatia's Helping Hand Counselling Centre

Transforming lives in Croatia

News December 7, 2023

07 December 2023| Pula, Croatia [Lidija Godina with tedNEWS]

Helping Hand opened its doors to the public on 9 May 2021 in the charming seaside city of Pula, Croatia. Thanks to generous funding from the Trans-European Division (TED), the Adriatic Union, the Croatian Conference, and the local church, a dedicated team of professionals is now providing support to the community, addressing health, psycho-social, and emotional needs—all at no cost to the individual. But what makes Helping Hand unique is that the centre hosts engaging group workshops for those wishing to explore spiritual topics alongside personalised therapeutic support and online therapy sessions.

People gathered at the Hlping Hand Centre
“People in the community feel incredibly grateful and blessed,” shared Mišo Havran.

Pastor Mišo Havran, Health Ministry director for the Croatian Conference, shared, “People in the community feel incredibly grateful and blessed.” Highlighting the unique approach of Helping Hand, seamlessly blending psychosocial and spiritual support, he commented, “Our support groups explore different topics, such as emotional growth, relationships, and spirituality. We start our meetings with a moment of prayer, ensuring everything we share is grounded in spiritual values.” The centre’s affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church is transparent and warmly embraced by participants. “All involved in creating and running Helping Hand are grateful to God for His tangible leadership so far and for the opportunities to not only assist with physical and psychological health but also to introduce people to Christ,” Havran concluded.

The excellent work of professionals and volunteers at Helping Hand caught the attention of Croatia’s leading TV station, HRTV1. “Ivana Simic, journalist and producer of the well-established programme ‘Together in Spirit’ (‘Zajedno u Duhu’), and her team interviewed us about the work done since our opening over a year ago”, Havran shared. The interview, featuring Dr Zlatko Pavlovic, Dr Lidija Godina, and Havran, aired on 11 November.

Interview with Croatia's main TV station, HRTV1.
The interview with Ivana Simic, from Croatia’s leading TV station, HRTV1, was broadcast on the 11th of November 2023. Left to right: Lidija Godina, Mišo Havran, and Zlatko Pavlovic.

Commenting on how Helping Hand supported the Pula community, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, Simic stated, “We often hear in the media that people are depressed, under stress, and looking for help. This is why the Health Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pula opened Helping Hand’s doors, with the help of excellent professionals.”

The Croatian Conference plans to replicate this success by opening a similar centre in Zagreb. “We already have professionals who are willing to be part of this new centre in Zagreb and dream of connecting both centres to share resources and reach more people,” shared Havran, underlining the vision for a broader impact on the community.

[Photos: courtesy of Mišo Havran] Featured image, left to right: Lidija Godina, Patrick Johnson, Zlatko Pavlovic and Mišo Havran at the Helping Hand Centre.

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