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Volunteer helping refugees in Lesbos Delo Person of 2015

Ljubljana, 4 January - A dentist who spent his summer holiday helping refugees in Lesbos was declared Delo Person of 2015, as the newspaper publisher presented the title for the 26th year running at a ceremony in Ljubljana on Monday.

Ljubljana
Jure Poglajen, a dentist who volunteered to help refugees on Lesbos, is named person of the year by Delo newspaper.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Jure Poglajen, a dentist by profession who works as a volunteer with the charity Adra Slovenija, had been picked by Delo readership among ten nominees put forward by the editorial board.

"The readers have obviously recognised that was the year of refugees," Poglajen told reporters after accepting the title, which he described as a great tribute.

He said it was a spontaneous decision for him and his friend David to launch the humanitarian campaign in Lesbos, the main entry point for hundreds of thousands of refugees entering Europe last year.

Having a holiday there planned before and in view of the situation, they packed their suitcases with shoes, medications and sanitary material.

They provided the refugees there with medical help, while they also made an appeal home for aid, managing to raise ten tonnes of material aid.

"These people must be helped, they've come for freedom, to be able to live normally. They didn't come here to take our jobs, they didn't come to occupy Slovenia, Europe or anyone else," Poglajen said.

His piece of advice to Slovenian citizens is that they "need to realise we are the citizens of the same world, we're not worth more nor are they worth less".

The ten nominees for the Delo Person of 2015 also included poet Ciril Zlobec, skier Tina Maze, chairman of pharma company Krka Jože Colarič, and rock band Laibach.

Secretary general of Caritas Slovenia Imre Jerebic was also nominated along with two more charity workers, a philosopher and a researcher.

A year ago the title went to voluntary firefighters, after going to charity people in the previous two years.

The honour went to Ivo Boscarol, the owner and founder of ultra light aircraft maker Pipisterl, for 2011 and Trieste-based author Boris Pahor for 2010.

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© STA, 2016