By Rose Barrett
A young man who came to Ireland from Croatia in search of a better life has been named the Red Cross Junior Humanitarian of the Year.
Jay Bobinac won the title for his work with the homeless through the Lighthouse Café and Tiglin charities.
He arrived here in January 2016 age 19, with not a penny to his name and no clue about how to carve out a life for himself here.
Jay told Dublin Gazette: “I would have been out of school for less than a year. I found accommodation really expensive here and couldn’t afford it so I slept rough in Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park….
“In Dublin at least, there was help out there, it would be cold but with the services such as Tiglin and The Lighthouse provide, there was always food and offers of clothing.
“They have helped me to get my first accommodation, and in turn, to access work and education. I was the first person to be placed in the new transitional housing at Chancery Place where I lived for a year.”
Now living in his own rental accommodation in Dublin 8, Jay says “it’s all been positive” for him since he accessed supports.
Soon after attending Tiglin’s No Bucks Café outreach teams he started to volunteer himself – all while still living on the streets. Now Jay is a manager of the soup kitchen there and is studying for a Masters in Social Care.
“Jay Bobinac is an example of what Tiglin is about – a continuum of care resulting in a changed life,” said Aubrey McCarthy, chairman of Tiglin.
“This is why it is important to fight on behalf of those who just need a hand up”.
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