Published March 21, 2023
Reading | 5 min

Welcome to the series #EVERYDAYHEROES in which we introduce exceptional members of our network. Through pop culture, we discovered that heroes fly, have superpowers, come from another planet, and wear capes and costumes, but there are other, real heroes. Heroes we are surrounded by every day, who raise their voices in times of injustice and fight for the rights of all of us. Who look the same as us, who express their superpower by fighting every day for a better and democratic society. Everyday heroes, that we have to talk about. Follow us on our Instagram to catch the next interview among the first ones.

Another Everyday Hero is Sanja Horvat from Croatia.

Can you introduce yourself?
I was born in Koprivnica, where I finished high school, and then I studied culture and tourism in Pula, where I spent 5 years. I volunteered and was involved in various projects. I was part of the organizing team “Watch what you eat” – a manifestation that consisted of an educational and fair part, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of healthy eating. In addition, I participated in many ERASMUS(+) projects through the organization Junge Europäische Föderalisten Steiermark, in which I was the Croatian Team Leader. As part of my final thesis, I researched the mine in Glogovac from an anthropological point of view. I spent my childhood in that place and my grandfather was a miner, and I had the need to contribute to the local community and future generations, but also to pay tribute to that always marginalized group – the miners, most of whom were not alive then. In addition to the miners, as part of the anthropology course, I also did a short research on the Roma minority. Although my work took me in a different direction, I still have an interest in culture and marginalized groups, so in my spare time, I go to cultural events (Museum Night is a must!) and help the needy. I consider myself a very curious and versatile person, I’m always on the move and I don’t like to limit myself, so I also choose such jobs – which involve the field and proactivity, and I often change industries. Due to many obligations and activities, my favorite thing is to spend time in nature, training and with cats.

What do you consider your biggest success?
I consider my work on miners very important. Namely, the people I interviewed were around 80 years old, and it was the last opportunity to hear and record their experiences about working in the mine, spending their free time, and interpreting some phenomena. The research required going to the field, but all of that was preceded by the preparation of a questionnaire based on archival records. This preparation lasted several months until I read all the archive files. While everyone was telling me why I didn’t give up. After that, I asked for contacts and asked for an interview. All conversations were recorded and transcribed, which required a lot of effort and time. The biggest difficulty in all of this was my medical condition (IBD), which was very limiting and limiting in my life. But with the help of support, I managed to keep a positive attitude and remain unstoppable – I’ve been to places I thought I’d never visit, I’ve worked and am still doing jobs I thought I’d never be able to do, and all of this is my greatest personal success, but I still prefer my own contribution, and this one is the biggest and most important 🙂

What does the word DEMOCRACY mean to you?
For me, democracy is my voice being heard amongst all the others. I think of it as a system in which the voice of the individual matters just as much as the voice of the majority. I really value the principle of subsidiarity and think that it needs to be one of the priorities if we want a fully democratic society. Of course, human rights and the rights of minorities are one of the things democracy offers that I find most important but this one was much less mentioned so I wanted to emphasize it.

Who do you consider your Everyday Hero and why?
My cats. Actually, we fed the abandoned neighbor’s cats, so they became ours. However, they are free in the cottage. Although someone goes to feed them every day, they are still alone in the wild and have to fend for themselves. Whenever I would watch them enjoying themselves carefree in the sun, I would think why people are not like that. Realistically, they are not without worries, they have existential worries if one of us doesn’t show up – they have to take care of the food. But at that moment they are enjoying the sun. At the moment. And that’s why I say that the cat is my role model! In addition, I had the opportunity to see the arrival of a kitten into the world, but also how a cat climbs with labor to a safe place for its little ones. I actually saw for myself female strength, freedom, and fearlessness. That is why I see my cats as everyday heroes!

What does the concept of Everyday Hero mean to you?
I think that all people in this world are Everyday Heroes in some way. Our positive actions and acts of love and honesty all count and add up to a better day and even a better world. This may sound idealist, but aren’t we all idealists at least in some way?

Why did you become a member of EDYN?
I saw the call for the new members and thought of it as an invitation to share my ideas with some new people I could meet along the way. Also, I have the need to do my part in strengthening democracy in Croatia.

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