With a goal of breaking down the still prevalent racial prejudices left in the wake of the Bosnian War of 1992-95, this wonderfully unique social development project was established with the sole purpose of creating and improving relationships between the young people of historically conflicting ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through a combination of youth-focused education and arts projects based in Brcko in Bosnia’s North West, a region where unemployment figures are as high as 40%, this multi-ethnic ‘anti-segregation’ project aims to create and foster connections between young people from the area as well as increase their self-confidence to create opportunities for them to work toward a united and stable nation. Dissolving generations of inherited, deep-seated racial prejudices can be a long and arduous task, and international volunteers, themselves from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds, demonstrating compassion and indiscriminate empathy to the children, play an important role in achieving the desired outcomes of this ambitious project.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide support for at-risk children in Bosnian and Herzegovina
- Foster positive relationships and understanding between peoples
- Promote anti-segregation and build at risk youth’s confidence and self-worth
- Provide an opportunity for cross cultural exchange between volunteers and locals
How you can help
This volunteer program provides essential support to ensure this program can fulfil its aim for an inclusive society. Volunteers play a crucial role in enabling youth to attend and participate in a program that will open their eyes and promote healing and understanding. Through an ongoing series of fun and social workshops, held every Monday to Friday in a local youth center, the project caters to approximately 30 local children and youth aged from 4 to 14, who together share in creative, team-building games and activities with the aim of uniting them by learning about one another. For international volunteers this is a highly varied program, which can be tailored to suit the skills and interests of each participant. There are several areas of focus and volunteers generally assist where the need is greatest, or where their skills are best suited, but usually include sharing knowledge or presenting classes/activities across the arts, music, drama, sports, geography and languages. Whilst the workshops are designed to be fun and educational, the participants learn not only to socialize with each other, but learn about different cultures, to become team players and to follow different rules.
To achieve the ambitious and courageous goals of this program, the program works on several areas of focus which volunteers will assist with:
- Deliver team building activities and work on projects with youth
- Support and encourage youth through various discussions and activities
- Organize other activities, games and mentoring as required
- Assist program staff with organization and other task as required
As volunteers on this program will be working with young people of mixed language ability, with only some of whom speaking English (or German), each volunteer is expected to study the local language/s (Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian) during their time in Brcko and to this end they will each be provided with a short language course as part of the program.