By Hrvoje Rendulic, Croatia
My journey in helping people with ED started in 2000 after I learned there was not a single qualified medical professional nor a clinic specialized in treating people with ED who could help my 15-year-old daughter on her journey to recovery.
Croatia is a small country in the heart of Europe with a large number of people suffering from eating disorders.
Croatia’s population is 4.3 million. Estimated number of affected by ED exceeds 100,000. Although our medical system allows every person to have access to free medical treatments, Croatia does not have ED specialized units, medical professionals, researchers, therapists, support groups nor care givers, which is a norm in many other countries.
Nada – Giving Hope
Nada (which means Hope in Croatian) is a small non-profit association organized in 2002 by a group of enthusiasts of different background. Our vision is to have Croatia without stigma and misconception about ED. Unfortunately, we don’t have government’s or corporate financial support. We solely depend on membership and public donations. Since our financial resources are very limited, we are not able to give assistance we committed to, which is to provide resources, support and education to those affected by ED.
Our goal is to bring awareness to the government of Croatia and general public that ED is a mental illness and not a choice; give right to a free professional medical treatment specialized in ED; be a resource and support to sufferers and their families; establish a free support team.
Our mission is to change minds and save lives. General public is still not accepting ED as a mental illness, and therefore their support is minimal. Those who are affected and would like to support us are afraid of being labeled by family, employer or society.
Today we have more than 700 members. Since we started, more than 7400 people affected by ED have contacted us seeking help. Our records reveal hundreds of people have died due to lack of targeted medical treatment and support. Numbers are probably higher since no official evidence or research is done in this area.
We are excited to be a part of World Eating Disorder Action Day and show our Eating Disorder community that we are not alone.
About Hrvoje Rendulic
Hrvoje is a humanitarian, an activist, a founding member and president of Nada, Association for aiding people with ED in Zagreb, Croatia. At the time and due to lack of help for his daughter, he decided to read everything available (mostly in English since there was very limited literature about ED in Croatian) to educate himself about eating disorder. He dedicated his life and finances to his mission. Today he is able to assess and recognize a problem with ED often when no-one else does. He is committed to being a voice for those who are not able to fight for themselves.
You can find Hrvoje, rain or shine, standing at one of the main squares in Zagreb, every day for four hours, as in the past 43 months, holding a banner asking for help, to “stop the silence, not a life”. Since he started his mission, Croatia has changed governments several times, and Hrvoje has a constant challenge in seeking help for Nada. Often he has been questioned and harassed by government officials, in his quest for fair and equal treatment of all those affected by ED who desperately need medical help. Hrvoje is dedicated to helping those who reach out to him and seek his help. His heart is open to everyone.
Join Hrvoje in supporting World Eating Disorders Action Day. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @WorldEDDay and hashtag #WeDoAct, #WorldEDActionDay, @WorldEatingDisordersAction on Instagram and World Eating Disorders Action Day on Facebook.