Leading British Serb fundraisers Charlie Nikolić and his brother Djordje have taken on a new project to buy giraffe for Belgrade Zoo. But animal lovers are not the only ones being asked to cough up the cash, because these two men are dipping into their own pockets, committing to double any donation with money of their own.
Charlie and Djordje were moved to raise the €8,000 required to buy a new giraffe for Belgrade Zoo, after hearing that the zoo’s previous much-loved giraffe Zare died quite recently. The death of Zare left the cash-strapped zoo without one of the world’s most impressive animals and, with very little funds and limited resources, unable to replace it with another giraffe.
All that is set to change, thanks to these British Serb brothers, who have found a zoo in the Czech Republic that is willing to sell a giraffe to Belgrade. “This initiative is very close to my heart and to my family,’ Charlie told Wild Rooster. “Zare was our favourite giraffe and animal with whom we have had many happy moments as youngsters and in recent years.
The Giraffe’s Coming Home initiative kicks off on July 1 and will raise awareness of animal welfare throughout the duration of London 2012 Olympic Games. As part of the campaign to return a giraffe to Belgrade zoo, ideas for names are being sought by the brothers. “We will start taking suggestions for the giraffe’s name and I am really looking forward to being able to involve children and their parents in making a difference for families in Serbia,’ said Charlie. If you have an idea for a name, forward it to Charlie at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlie and Djordje are not just driving the campaign and asking for contributions. They are also putting their money where their mouth is, quite literally. “The new giraffe will cost €8,000 to buy plus €2,000 to transport from the Czech Republic to Serbia,’ said Charlie. “We will try to raise as much money as we can, of course. But we have also committed to put forward our own money. For every £1 donated by the public we will personally donate £2.” The campaign’s progress towards the target sum will be reported by British Serb website Britic.
This is by no means the first time that Charlie has been in the forefront of a cash drive. In recent years, he has initiated and supported numerous Serbian causes, including many that support for children in Belgrade and Serbia. The arts are particular beneficiaries, too, with many successful arts and music events to support young Serbian talent organised through www.classicalconcert.co.uk. He also had a strong hand in the Celebration of 170 Years of SANU, plus numerous fundraising activities for St Paul’s Actors Church, the Royal Society of British Musicians, the Serbian Society of Great Britain and St Sava Church. Recently, Charlie co-ordinated the planting of a British-Serbian friendship tree in Covent Garden, and supported British Serbian school Poletarac.
Contributions towards the target can be submitted to: