Martina Seidlerová

Martina Seidlerová is helping her hometown blossom

For the past six years, Martina Seidlerová has been making her hometown of Jesenik a more vibrant place by organizing an astonishing array of community activities that are awakening local talent, enthusiasm and even courage. Martina organizes farmers’ markets, celebrations and discussion forums and is rejuvenating a forgotten open-air cinema and a park. She co-founded the civic association Sudetikus and has been elected to the town council.

“Mexican culture inspired me to begin doing something with the community. I spent a year in Mexico and I realized how important it is to care for one’s community, to cultivate good relationships and partnerships,” explains Martina. She holds a neighborhood festival four times a year that features home and restaurant cooking, farmers’ markets and celebrations under the motto “by locals for locals”. She initiated and facilitates a Students’ Council and regular Morning Club events, which are meetings where local residents talk about their region and plan projects. “I want to activate people, encourage them to take part in shaping their town and region’s future and empower them, give them self-confidence and a role in planning how the town and region will look and what it will be like to live here,” says Martina.

And Jeseník has truly ‘awoken’. Over the past few years, it has changed from a place where nothing happened to a place that offers a wide array of events, meetings and revitalization efforts. Martina received Via Foundation’s 2019 “Heart of Gold” Via Bona Award. “All of a sudden, Jeseník has become a town where you can get involved in what’s going on and make a difference in what the town is like,” says Zdeňka Morávková, who nominated Martina for the award. She adds: “Martinaspreads her enthusiasm to people around her. She is also able to get patrons, companies and individuals excited about community projects and to donate their time and money to them.”