JANUARY AT SVITAC (FIREFLY) – volunteer’s blog

Srećna Nova Godina! Happy New Year!

January was the first month of 2018. I’m sure you will all agree the first month of a new year is always an exciting and uplifting time of year. It is the time to reflecting on the past year, making resolutions for an even better new year, and being optimistic of what lies in store for the future. Here at Svitac (Firefly), these sentiments all wring true. We are looking forward to a new year filled with the same annual events and activities, but even better than before! Each year we hope to improve and grow, and this year is no different!

To start of the new year, this month we welcomed four new interns and volunteers who have come to Brčko! Camila and Hanna (that’s me!) will be staying here for three months total. They are the first “interns” Svitac (Firefly) has had, and they come to us from the University of Ottawa, in the capital city of Canada. Their work here will mostly be focused on administrative office work, but they will be in and out of the youth center and interacting with the program participants as well. They are excited to learn all about working in a grassroots NGO, and about the day to day work Svitac (Firefly) does to keep the program thriving.

We also welcomed Vedat and Tuba, who come from Turkey. They will be here for six months total, and will be working in the youth center on a daily basis. Both have finished their secondary schooling, and are excited to work with the children and other international volunteers.

Starting the program again after the Winter vacation was a bit slow to begin with. We are glad our participants enjoyed the time away from school with their families, and even happier they are back with us to learn even more cool and interesting things this year!

A new addition to the monthly workshops this month was “Bon Ton”. The purpose of this workshop was to work on manners and good behavior. For example, we talked about always raising your hand when you would like to speak and saying “hvala” (thank you) when someone does something for you. It can be challenging for volunteers/staff to always remind the kids to be polite when there are many of them in attendance, but we hope that it will become a part of the regular habits over time! Good manners are an essentially part of growing up, and we want to see the kids thrive at an early age. In the same style, we also learned about proper hygiene — excellent timing as it seems a bug is going around and giving everyone colds. Now more than ever we all need to make sure to wash our hands!

Along with the “Bon Ton” and our usual arts & crafts, language and sport activities, we had one special day this year all about science! Both the morning and afternoon workshops had one day this month dedicated to space and the universe. The children learned about the solar system, rocket ships and more! Taking days here and there to learn about special topics is a great way to spice things up, while still learning relevant and important information. Plus, it is always fun to see the difference in interest and current knowledge between the younger morning kids and the older afternoon kids.

Watch this space to see what we have in store for February. Please remember to keep in touch for more on Svitac (Firefly) and all that we do by continuing in reading this blog or by following us on Facebook (Omladinska Organizacija Svitac), Twitter (Svitac_BiH) and Instagram (svitacbrcko) for more regular updates!

Hvala puno! (Thank you very much!)

Hanna Lonergan, Svitac (Firefly) intern


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