Silent Heroes of Budva: the local Red Cross
Budva is a small town in Montenegro with a heart bigger than its bankbook.
The city has around 11,000 inhabitants, 16,000 including the surrounding area. Of these, more than 20 per cent are estimated to be in need, and some 3,600 elderly have major financial difficulties and are in need of assistance including hygiene, medical assistance, and social contact. Unfortunately, the need is also growing.
Add to this a large population of Romanian migrants that Budva is trying to assist with education and care, and you have a substantial burden on a town with few resources to offer.
But there are forces of caring at work to counter this need. The local chapter of the Red Cross is one of those making a sincere effort to help on all fronts, including elder and youth care, and delivering food to needy families in the area.
“The Red Cross in Budva has a real local presence and they are making a difference,” says Mark Fuhrman of the Piece Prize. Mark is nearing the end of his Silent Heroes Tour, paddling his kayak from Oslo to Athens, recognizing small acts of kindness along the way. “The Red Cross is a global organization, but it is making a big difference in small communities, while also addressing global issues like displacement and poverty.
The Budva chapter has received a real boost from young people looking to help, with some 60 youth volunteers registered to date. The local population is also wary of donating blood, and this is another key initiative drive for the Budva Red Cross – to turn the sentiment and encourage more people to give.
The Piece Prize awarded the Budva Red Cross a donation of €1000 to support their sorely needed community aid efforts. Of this, €500 will go specifically to work with the elderly, and the other €500 will go towards initiatives established by the young volunteers, with some being used for new uniforms for the volunteers.
Milica Vucinic, deputy director of the Budva chapter of the Red Cross says: “The doors of Red Cross Budva are open to those ‘unintentional travelers’ for whom altruism is a signpost. When our wonderful new friend Mark Fuhrmann showed up in his kayak, it was like a dream in our everyday lives, and we simply rolled out the red carpet!”
Budva’s volunteers left Mark inspired and motivated by how much every individual can mean to the community and to each other, and his recognition has in turn inspired the Silent Heroes of Budva: “Mark reminded us today that the most generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward,” says Milica Vucinic.
The Piece Prize spreads hope throughout EuropeMark Fuhrmann, a 60-year-old Canadian born father of three living in Norway since 1986, is on a solo kayak tour from Oslo, Norway, to Athens, Greece, stopping in selected cities to reward silent heroes with a modest Piece Prize, and promote positive values, actions and thoughts.
Silent heroes can be anyone of any age. They may run community organisations, be involved with charity work, be a friend to those in need, do good deeds, anything that promotes positive values and demonstrates compassion for others, regardless of the scale of the activity. In short, they are good neighbours, and good people, and the Piece Prize goes toward helping them continue with their good work.
Since leaving Oslo in April, Mark has stopped in Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Bremen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Paris, Nice, Venice, Zagreb, Split and Budva. The next stops will be in Tirana and Athens. His route has taken him over open seas, canals, and rivers, and will cover more than 5600 kilometres when completed, taking nearly seven months.