Helena Habdija

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Local Hero ChallengeCroatia

Helena Habdija, after a decade as an educator, has embraced a new challenge that led her to explore the startup world. With a fascination for the speed of new ideas being generated and different growth phases, the opportunity to combine education with entrepreneurship turned out to be one of her greatest passions. Helena has vast experience as an educator and mentor, a project designer, and a facilitator. She is as passionate about youth development as she is about female entrepreneurship, and she strongly supports new ideas that have the potential to create change in society. 

IVLP Impact Award Project: Local Hero Challenge

Local Hero Challenge Bootcamp was a gamified process for empowering young leaders to become change agents, to implement their projects and to leverage their success stories to inspire, mobilize and support other young people in many diverse local contexts of Croatia. This Croatia-wide online program was developed for young people aged 14 - 18. The program identified, engaged, supported and educated young local leaders (heroes) to create their own local change-actions through a gamified experience.

By using a set of challenges, workshops and one-to-one mentoring, young people got to know themselves, identify issues that matter to them and develop ideas to solve those problems. They put these ideas into practice with the help of mentors and through developing local partnerships. The program aimed to: empower and support young leaders, strengthen the local community, increase the employability of young people by building their soft skills, connect young leaders to a network of local stakeholders and mentors and give young people the skills and tools to implement community projects while learning about their values and what path is right for them.

With the support of two partner organizations and two teachers, the Local Hero Challenge reached 23 youth participants. During the project, participants gained independence and business skills to support their entrepreneurial goals through workshops, competition, and specialized mentoring.

"I learned to use a lot of new and practical tools to develop a business idea...we worked a lot, but it was worth it." - Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience

Helena was a participant in the IVLP Project Women and Entrepreneurship, organized by the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global.

Helena's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "My online IVLP experience exceeded my expectations. The team and the participants were really approachable, knowledgeable and always ready to help. This experience empowered me to create new projects, cooperate with more people and contribute more to my local community."

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually 

Huntsville, AL; Sacramento, CA; Washington, DC: Charlotte, NC; Akron, OH; Cleveland, OH

Country: Croatia

Click here to go back to the IVLP Impact Awards Main page