Meet the first resident of the Student dorm for protection of animals and nature “Ljubinka Vivčar”

“My name is Pavle Dobričić. Until I was 12, I lived with my grandma, mother and uncle in a village Stojnik near Aranđelovac. We lived humbly but happily. I remember my childhood playing in the sand and ponds, without a TV, phone and the Internet. I was taking care of cows, pigs and chicken, but my favorite was the black horse Ibar which I loved to watch, ride and hide behind his legs when I made some mischief. I felt safe because of his size and calmness. Ibar helped us a lot in folk chores, he hauling wood and corn. I would sometimes sit next to him and watch him eat calmly and enjoy every day and that would make me tremendously happy. I visited him even when I moved into a foster family and I was very sad when my grandma had to sell him because she could no longer take care of him. We also had a garden that I used to tend – I can still clearly remember the taste of the vegetables we harvested.

When I was 12, I was moved to a foster home in the village Garaši near Aranđelovac. By moving from Stojnik to Garaši, everything changed. Living conditions, environment, people – everything was new to me. My foster mother took over the entire care of my education which was not enviable up to that point. As soon as I moved to a foster home, I went on my very first excursion to the Resava Cave. I went to the seaside for the first time when I was 15 and my new family took me to trips very often. I fondly remember the celebration of my 18th birthday because all of my cousins and my foster parents celebrated with me and I am grateful that we got along so well from the very beginning and for feeling accepted. I have made some new friends in Garaši that are still my friends today. Now I can rightly and freely say that the foster parents are my parents.  That is love which cannot be described. What they have provided for me meant a lot in every respect, starting from my education and further development.  Thanks to them, I finished the secondary veterinary school in Topola and a year ago I enrolled at the College of Social Work in Belgrade”.

How did you learn about the ORCA contest for the first residents of the Student dorm  “Ljubinka Vivčar” and what made you apply for the contest?

I learned about the contest in the Center for Social Work, that is, from the worker in the Center who told me: “Pavle, I see you here”. I spent a lot of time thinking whether to apply or not. How will I manage in the big city, am I ready to leave my new home, will I really be able to help animals…these are just some of the questions I asked myself. So far, I haven’t separated from my foster parents and that is why I wasn’t sure how the separation would affect me. On the other hand, the desire for quality education and broader awareness, gaining new experiences and meeting new people with similar interests was stronger than all my fears. People don’t respect nature or animals, they don’t give the children the opportunity to spend time with animals and I want to change that. I want every child to be relaxed in the presence of animals and to find peace and serenity near them just like the animals have been providing me since early childhood. Animals give love, not seeking anything material in return. Simply put, I saw myself as someone who could help animals fight for their place. That’s why I applied for the contest.

Can you describe to us how you felt when you found out that I were the first resident of the Student dorm for animal welfare and environmental protection?

I will remember every day the smile on my face when I found out I was the first resident of the Student dorm “Ljubinka Vivčar”. I was happy and fulfilled because I got what I wanted. I immediately shared the good news with my family and we were all happy.

When I thought a little better and when the first impression subsided, mixed emotions arose – doubt, fear of a new environment, and sadness about leaving home.  That0s when I realized how much responsibility Mrs. Ljubinka’s gesture carries, and I promised myself that I would be worthy of her decision and not let her down.

What place do nature and animals have in your life?

Nature and animals are a part of my most beautiful memories and the first thought when I think of future. As I already mentioned, ever since I was a child, I spent time in nature with animals because  I live in the countryside so I encounter animals all the time, both small and big ones. Nature shouldn’t be destroyed as we humans do, not having any regard for it. We don’t know how to enjoy in it and preserve it. It’s just the same with animals. We need to understand that animals are not just our food, they are also our friends with whom we share our daily lives.

You finished veterinary medicine high school. When did the desire to help animals arise and why did you choose this profession?

I have always wanted to study something connected to helping – both people and animals.  It was harder to examine an animal than a human and help it, because an animal cannot say what problem it has or what hurts it. That’s why veterinary medicine was my decision. Nowadays I also am a vet, but just for the purposes of my animals in the village. I have sheep, pigs, chicken, cows, cats and two dogs in Garaši. Our house is near the road and people often throw cats out to our yard. I always feel sorry for them, so I often adopt them. I buy them medicine and injections, I feed them and give them water…I know how to milk a cow, groom, clean and trim my sheep.

Can you explain to us in more detail the link between your current occupation (social worker) and protection of animals and nature?

Social work and animal welfare are connected. For example, old people who are alone need someone who would move them a little and motivate them. I believe that an animal would do a perfect job in such case, whether it’s a dog or a cat. An old person could take care of that animal and not feel lonely n that way.

On the other hand, children also often have prejudice about animals. For example, they are afraid of a dog thinking it will bite them when thy see it on the street.. These prejudices come from the family. Each parent is responsible for the love that a child expresses for animals, but also for creating all the children’s fears about the animals. As a social worker, I want to influence this change and that people stop creating those unnecessary fears for children.  I would love to one day hold workshops and organize excursions where children would socialize with animals and spend time in nature, just as it is done at the ORkidCA Children’s Club. Children should participate in the protection of animals and nature because it is much different when we see and do something than when we just hear about it from others.

One of your hobbies is collecting antiques, i.e. traditional folk outfits. Why did you choose this hobby and what place does tradition have in your life?

Traditional folk outfit – some believe this is a piece of fabric which is old and has no value, so it should be in the garbage. Anyone who believes so is wrong. Traditional folk outfits are a part of our history and our cultural identity.  Traditional folk outfits is a nice hobby which provides wonderful experiences. When you touch a piece of this outfit, you have a feeling you traveled back to the past and get a clear picture of those ancient times. I got my first piece of traditional folk outfit from my grandmother and since then, collecting old traditional folk outfits has become my passionate hobby.

How can ORCA and you contribute to each other, and to animals, nature and humans together?

By trying to change what can be and should be changed. ORCA and I will strive to change the awareness of the people and encourage them not to see animals only as their food, but to feel emotions towards them and the desire to live in harmony together. Together we will fight against abuse and killing of animals.

Can you share with us a part of your plans for future?

The goals I set for myself are to graduate from college and help animals and nature as well as I can. In order to attend my lectures at the college, I spent almost 3 hours on traveling every day. That’s why now I will have more time for nature and animals and my professional development. My wish is to connect urban children with animals in the village. Many urban children don’t know what a cow looks like and I want to change that. I believe that every child deserves to be happy for animals and to connect with them because this is how responsibility and the purest emotions arise. The manner in which we care for animals, or the opinions we have of them speaks volumes about what kind of people we are.

The contest for your roommate is open. How would you call him/her to apply?

There are a lot of people who love animals, but there aren’t many who would really help them through their profession. Moreover, there are many children without parental care who want to study, but can’t.  I would tell him/her to definitely apply if he/she wants to study, work, make progress and apply all the obtained knowledge to protect animals and nature. If he/she is ready to help someone, he/she is in the right place.

Can you describe to us what you do in ORCA?

At the moment, what I do in ORCA is processing data from convictions relating to the offense of the abuse and killing of animals.  It is hard for me to believe all the criminal offenses animals are exposed to. In addition to this, I also called people to participate in the Crossbreed Show, and I communicated with the visitors at the Show and tried to give them all the necessary information. I participated in the training of Slavica Squire called Power life design, where I collected donations at the ORCA booth and talked to the interested participants.

I wouldn’t call my engagement in ORCA working, because it’s written in the agreement that my obligation is to volunteer 8 hours a week, I don’t consider it as obligation but rather as pleasure. In short, where ORCA is – that’s where I am.

What message do you have for all those who supported the opening of the Student dorm?

I say one big THANK YOU to all those who supported the opening of the Student dorm.  This means a lot to us – young people without parental care. Thanks to everybody who supported the gesture of Ljubinka Vivčar, young people like me will have the opportunity to gain adequate education with help of professional and kind-hearted people who want to make positive changes in the entire society. I have that huge responsibility, but also an even greater honor and that’s why I will do my best to justify the trust I was given.