Nikolina Bralo Family

We all have witnessed the devastation in the recent months/weeks between hurricanes, earthquakes and other sorts of violence. Through all of the loss, pain and suffering we have seen people band together to help each other out- from near and far.  From Chicago- watching the news, it's hard to imagine going through what most in Texas, Florida, Mexico and parts of the Caribbean have gone through and continue to go through.

After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston both myself and Father Jozo Grbes tried reaching out to the Houston Croatian community to see how they faired and if anyone needed any kind of assistance.  Initially the first reports we got were that everyone was accounted for and ok.  Last week though the community reached out saying one of their families was in need.  And could we help?  As the saying goes..."it takes a village".  What binds us together is not only our Croatian Culture but also our willingness to open our doors to others and help when help can be given.  The Houston Croatians opened their doors to help one family who lost everything but they need our help as well.
 

Nikolina Bralo, 42,  of Travnik Bosna I Hercegovina, came to the U.S some 22 years ago with her husband after escaping the war.  They left their beautiful homeland and everything and everyone they knew to escape war and to start a new life.  After a few years her parents and sister soon joined them in the states.  Over the next 22 years Nikolina and her husband welcomed son Tony (20) and daughter Emma (8).   Together they made a new home with new friends and memories in Houston, Texas.  There they met many other Croatian diaspora who are part of the Lone Star Croatian club of Houston.  It was members of this community who would later give them shelter and food after Harvey devastated many, if not most parts, of Houston.

Nikolina (now divorced) lost everything- her home, belongings and memories all washed away.  At the time of Harvey her parents, sister and two young nieces were living in her home, along with Nikolina, Tony and Emma.  Because that is what you do-  you let family or friends, whomever needs it , stay in your home.  Like most people in Houston, Nikolina only had home insurance, no flood insurance.   Flood losses are not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy- it's excluded for everything!!!  A foood policy is very expensive and often does not even provide the full limit of insurance once should and would carry.  Nikolina, like millions of others has filed a claim with FEMA.   I know first hand this is going to make Nikolina's life more challenging as, not only is FEMA low on funds, flooded with calls/claims but it could take them months, if not years to pay claims out. Especially with back to back to back devastating hurricanes that have hit parts of the U.S.

For Nikolina it's been heartbreaking, as we can only  imagine, to see everything she has worked hard for and built these past 22 years gone in a nightfall.  Luckily her family is safe,  her ex in laws have been taking care of them all and they are getting ready to move into their own apartment this week.  Nikolina was very emotional when speaking with me over the phone.  She couldn't believe that, not only did her Houston Community reach out asking for help for her family, but that a community hundreds of miles away is willing to help.  I asked her what they needed most? Food, clothing, supplies, money? Nikolina replied "I am so embarrassed,  I have never had to ask for this kind of help before.  I don't know what to say.  I don't know how to ask strangers who have never met me for help".  I told her that she had nothing to be embarrassed about and that we are here to help.  It shouldn't matter that we have never met-  all that matters is she needs help and we have the ability to help her.

After speaking with Father Jozo we agreed a GoFundMe page would be the best way for us to gather funds and get them to Nikolina and her family as quickly as possible.  So we are asking our Village (community) to step up, think about being in Nikolina's shoes, think about how we are all there for each other during our happiest and saddest of times.  Whether you can give $5 or $100 every little bit will help get Nikolina and her family back on her feet.   

Donate here now and we will allocate funds to Nikolina as soon as they start coming in.

If you have questions please feel free to me, Kristina Randall, directly.

From the Bralo family:  Thank you and God Bless


Svjedoci smo velikih stradanja posljednjih tjedana, kada su uragani, potresi I ostale nepogode izazvale velike gubitke I stradanja ljudi. No imali smo prilku vidjeti I velika zalaganja I požrtvovnost onih koji su unesreċenima priskočili u pomoċ. Gledajuċi vijesti iz Chicaga, teško je ponekad predočiti što su ljudi u Texasu, Meksiku, na Floridi, te nekim dijelovima Kariba doista prolazili.

Nakon što je uragan Harvey pogodio Houston, fra Jozo Grbeš I moja malenkost, pokušali smo doċi u doticaj sa tamošnjom hrvatskom zajednicom I ponuditi im našu pomoċ. Prema prvim dobivenim informacijama, svi su bili zbrinuti I sve je prošlo relativno dobro. No prošli tjedan zajednica nam se obratila sa molbom za pomoċ jednoj unesreċenoj hrvatskoj obitelji.

Ne samo da nas vežu hrvatski korijeni, veċ je tu I naša spremnost na pomoċ jedni drugima u nevolji. To je jedna od karakteristika koja krasi naš narod I na koju smo ponosni kao Hrvati. Ljudi iz zajednice u Houstonu otvorili su vrata svojih domova I prigrlili obitelj koja je izgubila svu imovinu. No I naša pomoċ je I te kako dobrodošla. Ljudi su to koji su izgubili sve što su u životu stvarali. Pružimo im pomoċ! Pokažimo da smo tu jedni za druge I u vremenima najveċih nevolja.

Nikolina Bralo, 42, rođena je u Travniku, u BiH, te je u Sjedinjene države došla prije 22 godine sa suprugom, bježeċi tada pred strahotama rata. Za sobom su ostavili ne samo svoju domovinu, veċ I obitelj,  prijatelje, te krenuli u novi život, miljama daleko od kuċnog ognjišta. Nakon nekoliko godina u Americi, pridružili su im se Nikolinini roditelji I sestra. Nikolina I njezin suprug  roditelji su Tonya (20) I Emme (8). U Houstonu su gradili svoj život, upoznavali nove prijatelje, naročito iz hrvatske dijaspore,  članove Lone Star Croatian Club of Houston, čiji su  im članovi I pružili utočiste nakon devastacija uzrokovanih uraganom.

Nikolina je danas razvedena, samohrana majka, koja je još jednom u životu izgubila sve – dom, sigurnost, uspomene… Sa svojom djecom u tom domu nije živjela sama, veċ sa roditeljima, sestrom I dvije neċakinje. Pružila im je krov nad glavom I pomoċ koja je bila potrebna. To puno govori o Nikolini…

Kao I veċina ljudi u Houstonu, Nikolina je osigurala kuċu, no nije imala I osiguranje od poplave. Štete od poplave, naime nisu pokrivene standardom policom osiguranja . Osiguranje od poplava je izuzetno skupo, a čak I ugovoreno, ne pruža potpunu nadoknadu izgubljenog. Kao I mnogi oštečeni, podnijela je zahtjev organizaciji FEMA. Kako I sama radim na poslovima osiguranja, pouzdano znam da ċe biti izuzetno teško dobiti ikakvu naknadu za uništeno jer je ne samo da je trenutno FEMA bez velikih financijskih sredstava, veċ ċe biti potrebni mjeseci, ako ne I godine, da se isplate sve naknade. Tome naročito pridonose  novonastala stradanja prouzročena novim uraganima.

Imala sam priliku razgovarati sa Nikolinom koja je dirnuta ne samo činjenicom da joj je njezina zajednica u Houstonu izašla u susret, veċ I da ljudi iz hrvatske zajednice miljama udaljeni, imaju želju I volju pomoċi. Na moje pitanje što joj je najpotrebnije – odjeċa, obuċa, hrana, novac – Nikolina je odovorila: “Toliko mi je neugodno… Nikada u životu nisam molila za pomoċ. Ne znam što reči… Ne znam kako zamoliti ljud koji me nikada nisu susreli za pomoċ…”. Odgovorila sam joj da sramu ovdje nema mjesta I da naše nepoznavanje nije ni malo bitno – jedino važno je da je u  potrebi, a mi imamo želju I moguċnost pomoċi.

Nakon razgovora sa fra Jozom Grbešom, zaključili smo kako je najbolje rješenje pokrenuti “Go fund me” stranicu za prikupljanje sredstava koja bi Nikolini I obitelji uvelike pomogla. Najlijepše vas molim da se na trenutak stavimo na Nikolinino mjesto I da se sjetimo kako smo tu jedni za druge, kako djelimo  sretne, ali I one teške I tužne trenutke. Koliko ste u moguċnosti dati, manje je bitno. Dar je najvrijedniji kada dolazi iz srca, a Nikolini I njezinoj obitelji bit ċe to pomoċ da barem donekle ponovo stanu na noge.

Sve donacije prikupljene ovom akcijom odlaze isključivo Nikolini.

Moje ime je Kristina Randall, te ukolko imate pitanja, slobodno me kontaktirajte

Donations ()

  • Vikica Planinić 
    • $100 
    • 29 mos
  • Anonymous a 
    • $100 
    • 29 mos
  • Mario Marusic 
    • $50 
    • 30 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $300 
    • 30 mos
  • Sandra Flesher 
    • $10 
    • 30 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Kristina Randall 
Organizer
Chicago, IL
Nikolina Bralo 
Beneficiary
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