My volunteering at Svitac (Firefly) – Andrea Diaz, USA
I came to know of Svitac (Firefly) through a global network called Omprakash. This is actually the first year, Svitac (Firefly) was offered as an NGO to Edge interns such as myself. When I was preparing for this two-month journey I did not know what to expect. This would be the first time I would be out of the country alone for a relatively “long” period of time. I came here prepared for worst. I thought it would be hard to adjust to a small community with a completely different language and culture but now I can say that all the negative things I expected were proven to be wrong. Although small and foreign, Brcko has provided me with a sense of safety and courage these past two months. I learned to appreciate the challenge and make the most of this once in a lifetime experience.
Svitac (Firefly) is not just a place of work, it is a family. I’ve never felt so welcomed when being surrounded by complete strangers! Upon arrival, my fellow local and international volunteers made sure to show me around and teach me from their experience during their stay here. Everyone is free to pitch ideas for workshops and every week we conduct a total of 10 workshops with one of us leading 1-3 workshops. The children are absolutely adorable and eager to learn which made my time here that much more enjoyable. The language barrier is difficult to overcome but I relied heavily on hand gestures and facial expressions which the children definitely understood.
I admire everything Svitac (Firefly) does because even if it seems like simple activities for kids, it is much more than that. I take comfort in knowing that with every activity we are helping bridge a gap that continues to dawn over the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We need programs like Svitac (Firefly) that provide a safe space for youth of all backgrounds to mix and have fun. I am proud to say that I am the very first student to come through the Omprakash program to Svitac (Firefly) and I hope my experience paves the way for more volunteers to come and do volunteering at Svitac (Firefly).
Andrea Diaz, USA
Svitac (Firefly) volunteer, 20th May – 15th July 2017