Intercultural Youth work in Bosnia – German-Bosnian Exchange
Have you ever wanted to host a group of young international participants? What if they happen to come from one of the most developed countries in Europe — would it be a challenge or just a new experience?
The idea for this exchange project was an interesting from the beginning. After talking with a German colleague, I realized that many young people in Germany do not know much about Bosnia and Herzegovina – actually they do not know anything about us. That’s why we decided to organize a trip for young people from Germany to visit Brcko District, a town with a special status in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The exchange for eleven German participants took place from 14th to 21st August. The main topic was “intercultural youth work” – why work of Omladinska organizacija Svitac (Firefly) and other NGOs is important in Brcko District and how much life in Brčko is different now than before. The project was implemented in cooperation with German partner ‘Bezirksjugendwerk der AWO Hessen-Süd e.V‘.
We wanted to show participants many things about the town itself and the event was a success from the first to the last day. We did a lot of activities during seven days of their visit, including meeting with Svitac (Firefly) local and international volunteers, members of the Association of High Schools (ASUBiH Brčko Team), representatives from the NGO network „Promote Positive“ and OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe).
We also visited the Svitac’s (Firefly’s) Ellie Maxwell Youth Centre, the local Roma youth centre, Brčko District City Hall and the Public Economic University and attended a few Svitac’s (Firefly’s) daily workshops.
At the end we led the participants on a tour around the town, which included an afternoon boat cruise.
We used a unique method of reflection in which, at the end of each day, the participants and volunteers gathered in a group and shared their thoughts, feelings and feedback on the activities they had participated in. These sessions turned out to be incredibly useful for both the hosts and the guests since everybody learned something new about Brčko town and Bosnia.
This exchange was special for me – and a big challenge, too. I think this group learned a lot about Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brcko District and work Svitac (Firefly) does in our local community.
I would like to recommend to anyone interested in learning about the diversity of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit Svitac (Firefly) because Brčko District is a positive example of what can be achieved.
You’ll learn much more this way, rather than just listening to the story!
Miloš Popić, Project Officer&Voluntary Service Coordinator, Svitac (Firefly)