Volunteering is an easy way to give back to the Croatian community as well as learn new skills and gain knowledge, and meet generous and kind people. Volunteering enriches your life and the lives of others.
We’ve already written about ways to volunteer in Zagreb and Split. In this post, we introduce you to worthy organizations from Rijeka that accept volunteers. Each organization covers different fields of work, including programs for children, help for drug addicts, music, and animal protection.
Some of these organizations enable foreign citizens to volunteer for them short-term or long-term. Long-term volunteering for an udruga is a valid basis for getting a temporary residence permit in Croatia. If you’d like to get residence in Croatia based on volunteering, you can learn more about this option here.
What is an udruga?
An udruga is a group of individuals who enter into an agreement, usually as volunteers, to form an organization to accomplish a non-profit purpose.
We have noted which organizations will offer contracts to foreigners, which can be used as a basis for residence below.
Jump to volunteering organization:
- Foilot – Centar za djecu i mlade Matulji
- Udruga “Vida”
- Udruga Centar za kulturu dijaloga
- Ri Rock
- Riječko srce
- Udruga Portić
- Društvo za zaštitu životinja Rijeka
- Udruga SMART
The facts are these…
Ways to volunteer or give back in Rijeka, Croatia
Foilot – Centar za djecu i mlade Matulji (Center for Children and Youth Matulji) is a non-profit association that manages educational and creative programs for children from the municipality of Matulji near Rijeka. It encourages children to express their creativity through dance, art, music, film, culinary, and language workshops. Foilot was established in 2006.
Professors and pedagogues involved in Foilot’s programs help children develop their independence, creativity, freedom of expression, mutual respect, and understanding. Within their programs and events, Foilot connects more than 100 children from 3 to 18 and 300 parents.
Volunteers can assist in the planning, management, and performance of regular workshops, as well as the creation of new ones. In return, volunteers gain valuable experience in working with children and youth, developing their potential, and connecting with other people of similar interests. Foreign nationals can also volunteer, and Foilot is willing to make a contract with them.
Addiction Aid Association “Vida” from Rijeka was founded in 2006 as a self-support association for parents of drug addicts from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.
Vida’s work now focuses on providing non-institutional services and help to drug addicts and their families. They cooperate with associations that conduct rehabilitation programs and therapeutic communities, and psychiatric and social care institutions.
Vida currently employs psychologists, a lawyer, a social pedagogue, and a theologian/culturologist. They perform a program for the social reintegration of addicts, prevention programs, social entrepreneurship development programs, and counseling and support to addicts.
If you’d like to volunteer for Vida, you can assist them with administration, donation programs for marginalized and socially-disadvantaged families, designing the association’s visual identity, maintaining their web and social pages, and working on the visibility of the association. It is also possible to help with the implementation of workshops and other events they organize.
Foreigners can volunteer for Vida, but they will not offer a long-term contract for the purposes of residence.
Udruga Centar za kulturu dijaloga (Association Center for the Culture of Dialogue) is active in many areas, including democratic political culture, human rights, education, science and research, and social activities. In 2015, they successfully achieved a VAT exemption on food donations.
Their program called My place under the sun supports socially-disadvantaged children providing them with a stimulating environment where they can participate in free activities. This program enables children the support in acquiring knowledge, skills, and work, and prevents their social exclusion. It was declared the best volunteering program in Rijeka in 2018.
Volunteers can join the association in creative, acting, dance, and culinary workshops, give assistance in learning the Croatian language, mathematics, English, Italian, and informatics, excursions, and many other activities.
Foreign nationals can volunteer for them in both the short and long term.
Ri Rock is a music association that started its formal work in 2006, but they have been active since 1979. They promote alternative music through recognized cultural and social activities, events, concerts, festivals, music workshops, projects, and programs. Their goal is to satisfy the needs and interests of young people and integrate them into the urban music culture of Rijeka.
Within the MusicBox program, Ri Rock offers a space equipped with musical instruments where youth can learn to play drums, electric guitar, and bass guitar. The association cooperates with numerous youth organizations, including Distune Promotion, Kombinat, and Mass: Kru from Rijeka, KVARK from Križevci, CeZam from Čakovec, Gymnasiums in Rijeka, and music clubs Palach, Stereo, Life, Tunnel, Tank, and Club from Rijeka.
Ri Rijeka allows volunteers to help obtain financial support from Croatian and EU subsidies, expanding the audience, increasing the visibility of their programs, maintaining musical instruments and equipment, and organizing concerts. In return, volunteers get free entrance to all Ri Rock events and concerts, the possibility to use their vehicles, professional training, and a volunteering certificate.
Humanitarian association Riječko srce (Heart of Rijeka) cares for children, sick and infirm, socially-disadvantaged families, and everyone else in need. They organize humanitarian actions, concerts, and gatherings. The collected money is then donated to others in need, such as children’s hospitals, Rijeka hospice, and individuals.
Riječko srce has more than 150 members. Since 2016 when they were established, they have organized ~10 significant humanitarian actions. If you want to help them in their humanitarian missions and actions, you can join them anytime. At this time, foreign citizens can not volunteer for Riječko srce.
Udruga Portić (Association Portić) cares about promoting children’s welfare within their programs intended for children, parents, and the wider community. They encourage early development and focus on non-institutional care, strengthening social awareness and parental competence, and implementing psychosocial support programs. More than 250 people annually volunteer in their programs.
In cooperation with other Croatian associations, Portić’s volunteers read stories to children in hospitals and participate in weekly workshops to empower elementary school students on successful learning. They have organized a training program for nuns, a baby fitness program for the psychomotor development of children, and a program for reducing child abuse and neglect – to name just a few.
Društvo za zaštitu životinja Rijeka (Association for protection of animals Rijeka) is a non-profit organization that has helped discarded and lost animals since 1993. They care for dogs in a shelter between Viškovo and Kastav, which is currently home to more than 100 dogs. Their volunteers feed the dogs and provide them with necessary veterinary care. The biggest goal of the association is to provide a shelter until dogs can be fostered.
The number of dogs in the shelter is constantly increasing, which is why they always need new volunteers. In addition to volunteers, they need old blankets, sheets, towels, dog toys, necklaces, guides, and other useful dog accessories. To make a donation, contact them directly.
Foreigners can volunteer, but they will not offer a long-term contract for the purposes of residence.
Udruga SMART (Association SMART) is an organization that serves as a center for supporting the development of civil society. Their goal is to improve the work of civil society organizations and their partners and associates by supporting them in the field of non-profit management.
SMART provides support through programs of Volonterski centar Rijeka (Volunteer center Rijeka) and a local community foundation called Naša zaklada (Our foundation). Together, they work on improving the organizational and administrative capacity of other civil society organizations.
View our other volunteering posts
- Ways to volunteer or give back in Split
- Ways to volunteer or give back in Zagreb
- How to volunteer in Croatia and get residence
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.