During 2019 the first Student Center for protection of animals and nature was founded within ORCA. This Student Center is intended for young people, future experts who will be committed to protection of animals and nature through their professions as veterinarians, biologists, ethnologists, lawyers, sociologists, teachers, etc. The Student Center is called after Ljubinka Vivčar, a noble woman who in her will left her entire property in the form of an apartment of 35m2 to our organization.

We found this gesture to be the reflection of her deepest trust as well as a great acknowledgment for our continuous work. Wishing that her last gift live long and continue to bring more good, we decided to establish a student center with help of investors and volunteers, where numerous generations of young people will live and study whose life mission is directed at protection of animals and nature. We managed to do so, and this wonderful story was crowned when the first resident, Pavle Dobričic, a boy from foster family, moved in. Pavle is a sophomore student studying social work and he plans to dedicate his professional career to protection of animals and nature.

Who is Ljubinka Vivčar and how it all started?

Ljubinka Vivčar was a seemingly completely ordinary woman who loved animals and who tried to help those animals which needed help the most. She is one of the many citizens who managed to solve their problems with animals thanks to the support they received in ORCA. As sincere lover of animals and an activist, and seeming that ORCA endures and persistently works on improvement of protection of animals and nature in Serbia, Ljubinka decided to give her contribution to this mutual struggle. She believed that her last gift will be used for benefit of all – animals, nature and people.

With this gesture Ljubinka wanted to make an even greater contribution to the animals and the community she came from. What she left behind is a gift which will serve to animals and nature even after her death.

Her unusual act is a sign that even after a great stagnation,  philanthropy in Serbia is gradually being restored.

Why Student dorm?

Through significant experience and everyday communication with citizens all over Serbia, we realized that the lack of experts is one of the major obstacles to the development of the fields in which we operate… Every day, citizens send their various questions to ORCA and point out the problems, seeking help. We often don’t have anyone to refer them to, because our country is faced with the lack of experts who specialize in the fields of animal welfare and environmental protection. In addition to this, there is a clear lack of awareness of the need that complex problems can be solved through multidisciplinary approach and cooperation of experts of different profiles, state institutions and animal welfare protection. We are committed to changing this image.

Having in mind the values that Ljubinka stood for, we wanted to give additional value to this gesture of hers and make sure her gift last and continue to be beneficial for animals, nature and people. That is why we decided to turn the apartment she left to us into the first student center and present it to the students who will dedicate their careers to the welfare of animals and environmental protection and therefore continue to spread the joint mission of Ljubinka and ORCA.

Campaign “Let’s make room for changes”

Only with the support of citizens who know the impact that animal welfare and environmental protection have on almost all aspects of life can we fulfill Ljubinka’s wish and continue to help millions of people and animals all over Serbia and the Western Balkans.

That is why we started a big campaign, with the aim to collect the funds necessary to renovate and furnish the apartment, the future first student center for protection of animals and nature. By including a great number of citizens who shared this story and donated their own money, we were able to achieve a lot together.

One good deed always brings our another. This was proven by Slavica Squire, the first NLP trainer in Serbia and the founder of NLP Institute, who contributed immensely to the fundraising by inviting participants of her NLP Practitioner 54 course to financially support the opening of the Student Center. She announced before everybody that she would personally invest as much money as everyone had collected together.  That’s how thanks to Slavica Squire and the participants of her NLP Practitioner course we were able to raise more than 130,000 RSD in just a couple of days.

Funds for establishing the student center in the amount of RSD 1,048,464 were raised in a record 50 days. 250 donors consisting of citizens and companies, who recognized Ljubinka’s noble mission, contributed to success of the campaign. Apart from them, many people who contributed to this success with their volunteer work and professionalism also joined the campaign.

Contest for the first residents of the Student dorm “Ljubinka Vivčar”

Fundraising was just the beginning of the story of establishing the fist Student dorm “Ljubinka Vivčar”. During the renovation of the apartment, we organized a Contest for the first residents of the Student dorm. We wanted to support young people without parental care and give them a chance to study because they otherwise find it difficult to obtain student dorms and scholarships We believe that young experts can contribute to the permanent and systematic protection of animals and nature with their knowledge, and that is why our wish is to inspire them and support them in building their capacities, knowledge, skills and strategic thinking.

In addition to free accommodation during their studies in our Student Center, the residents of the Student Center are also given the opportunity to participate in the  programme of  ORCA Academywhich includes the participation in training, practice in ORCA and its partner organizations and institutions, as well as provision of mentoring support in preparation of professional research papers, master theses and doctoral papers, that is, designing and conducting scientific research.

Pavle Dobričić – the first resident of the Student dorm “Ljubinka Vivčar”

Based on the received applications and candidate interviews, the Committee for selection of students decided that the first resident of the Student dorm “Ljubinka Vivčar” be Pavle Dobričić, a boy from foster family and sophomore student studying social work, from Stojnik near Aranđelovac. The Committee consisted of PhD Tamara Džamonja Ignjatović (FPN), Tamara Borisavljević (Center for Foster Care and Accommodation, Belgrade), Suzana Trninić (journalist and public representative) and Elvir Burazerović (ORCA Director).

When asked what prompted him to apply for this contest, Pavle replied: “Nature and animals are a part of my most beautiful memories and the first thought when I think of future”, says Pavle. “I have always wanted to study something connected to helping – both people and animals. Guided by that desire, I merged veterinary medicine and social work.  Animals give love, not seeking anything material in return. I saw myself as someone who can help animals. That’s why I applied for the contest.”

Read the interview with Pavle Dobričić, the first resident of the Student Center “Ljubinka Vivčar”.

Pavle has already become an important member of ORCA team. He volunteered in the organization of Crossbreed Show, as well as during the training of Power life design held by Slavica Squire. Everyone who met Pavle during the Crossbreed Show and training of Power life design recognized the modesty, nobility and sincerity in him. A new Contest for another place in the Student Center is currently held and it’s intended for the young people ready to dedicate their knowledge and professional careers in future to animal welfare and environmental protection.

Ljubinka Vivčar - winner of VIRTUS prize

The noble gesture of Ljubinka Vivčar was awarded a special  VIRTUS prize for endowment development. VIRTUS prize is awarded by Trag Foundation in order to promote good deeds and encourage more companies and individuals to engage in programmes and initiatives for the common welfare.

The prize was received on behalf of Ljubinka by Dragan Aleksić, the executor of her will and a longtime family friend, who wanted her last wish fulfilled and contributed to making her vision a reality.

“Ljubinka Vivčar spent her whole life caring for animals within her capabilities. Her way of thinking was crowned by gifting the apartment where she spent her whole life to ORCA organization. I am sure that what ORCA has done by turning her apartment into a Student Center where students who will help animals will get free education surpasses her expectations”, said Dragan Aleksić at the award ceremony.

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How does opening a Student Center fit into the ORCA mission?

Our mission is to help people care for nature and animals and to show them good examples that caring for animals and nature is a way for them to develop personally. Animal welfare and environmental protection have an impact on almost all aspects of human lives: manufacture (healthy food, safe medicine), safety of citizens, emotional development of children, clean environment and many others.

Establishing the first Student dorm for protection of animals and nature in Serbia is a part of wider programme of -  ORCA Academy. With this program we want to influence the development and activation of scientific and professional capacities in the field of animal welfare and environmental protection in our country. Thanks to the ORCA Academy program, generations of students will develop into multidisciplinary professionals who know not only the field they were educated in, but also the legal legislation relevant to their field, project management, public advocacy and other knowledge necessary to make a lasting contribution to the protection of animals and nature in Serbia and beyond

Paintings that adorn the walls of the Student Center are the gift from the artist and architect Aleksandra Mirić.