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5 March 2021

Member Spotlight: ORCA

Focused on helping people in Serbia and the Western Balkans to care about nature and the wellbeing of animals, CEEweb Member ORCA is currently implementing the programme ‘Your Place in Serbia’ to support local initiatives.

Get to know more of ORCA at https://orca.rs/en/

In order to encourage change in the areas of animal welfare and nature protection, the Organisation for Respect and Care of Animals (ORCA), supports authentic citizens’ initiatives from all over Serbia. These initiatives are led and conducted by local activists who invest their own knowledge and energy and encourage others to join them and be active.

Even though local communities have enough resources to become better, they first have to recognize those resources and dedicate them to the benefit of the whole community. ORCA believes that citizens have great power in their hands and that dedicated individuals and groups can make big changes in their communities and protect nature and animals. Still, these changes can only occur only if they act systemically, deliberately, and persistently. Thus, ORCA, headquartered in Belgrade, Serbia, and one of CEEweb Members, aims to encourage respect for activism by shining a light on the good examples — authentic groups that work to develop a sense of community and trust, and that foster collaboration to make their environment better.

Some of the initiatives that ORCA supports include: 

On the edge of survival: Did you know that the largest and rarest of eagles in Serbia flies above the small town of Arilje, in southwestern Serbia? It is the golden eagle. The organisation “Rzav” is dedicated to making a feeding ground for them, vultures and other bird and mammal species above the Veliki Rzav river while including the whole community to care for them.

Together for children’s smiles: In order to improve the health and well-being of children and urban wildlife, the organisation “Sowers of joy” is working to transform a plain open ground into the first garden playground for children in the small village of Varvarin. The citizens will join together to plant trees, shrubs and flowers — all attractive to wildlife.

Keepers of the Seed: More than 30 agricultural producers from the town of Mionica, led by the organisation “Frame of Life,” are working to protect indigenous varieties of fruits and vegetables, bring them back to our tables, and enable us to buy and eat healthy food.

Protect the owls of Srem: Owls are the gems of Sremska Mitrovica, a city in northern Serbia. However, there are some tree pruning techniques, like topping, that are endangering them. The Rural Centre “Owl” is dedicated to protecting this species in Sremska Mitrovica by working with local authorities to change their harmful pruning methods and making the urban owl habitat safer.

For a cleaner Sokobanja: In order to open a dialogue about better waste management in one of the tourist oases in Serbia, Sokobanja, members of Sokobanja’s ecological society visited 90 households, recorded all illegal dumps in Sokobanja with the help of over 100 citizens, and cleaned an illegal dump placed near the river in a joint action with over 60 citizens.