DECEMBER NEWS – volunteer’s blog
December has been an extremely busy month for Svitac, as anyone could probably guess. After an eventful November packed with fun activities for all age groups, and informative workshops surrounding the topic of anti-fascism and tolerance to all, we enter December. The last month of the calendar year and the biggest events planned yet, including a Workshop Fair and the New Year’s Party!
The month kicked off with three weeks of Tolerance building with the both the younger age group (under 8yrs old) and the older age groups (8yrs and older). These three weeks had all of our volunteers focusing on the topic of tolerance in all of our daily workshops. As simple as talking about friends with different interests who we still like and love, to learning about what the word tolerance means and how we can instill its lesson into our everyday life. These workshops brought us closer together through art, song, and learning.
Half way through the three weeks of tolerance building exercises, we welcomed a new member to the Svitac team. Sanela came to us from the USA and was very keen to help out in any way she could in our daily activities. Though she only stayed for three weeks, she kept on her toes and contributed to the Svitac schedule with enthusiasm and heart. Good luck in the future, Sanela. Keep in touch!
As Sanela left, two new volunteers arrived from Turkey to join the team and stay with us for a 6 month stint. We welcomed in Taha and Yunus as we said farewell to Sanela. Bittersweet, but with two measures of sweet. The boys have quickly become integral members of the team and work hard each day in daily activities, local and English language lessons, and frequent every afternoon workshop available. Good on you fellas, keep up the good work.
To raise awareness and attendance for the afternoon workshops offered to the community by our local and international volunteers, Svitac held a Workshop Fair on the 14th of Dec as part of the ‘Raise Your Voice’ initiative. The event held a large turnout and saw the many representatives of each of the workshops deliver engaging presentations to their audiences. Offering interactive lessons and testimonials from long time participants as to their enjoyment of the varying projects. Evening workshops have already started to see an increase in participants, with looks of growing even more in the New Year. Good job team!
Then onto the night of the New Year’s Party, which took all day to set up and many meetings to help prepare for it. With a staggering appearance of around 120 participants, I very much believe that all the preparation was indeed worth it. Starting the evening with a program for guests, showing off the musical talents of guitar students from the centre, an accomplished flutist, and choral arrangements from the 4-7 age group and the 8+ group with help from local and international volunteers.
After the mini-concert, the party was split into three rooms for all those who came. Face painting, competitive games, musical chair antics, and a craft activity called “tree of wishes”. To round off the night, Santa paid Svitac an extra special visit to host a game of bingo for the children.
And Sladjana left us. Our fearless daily coordinator to bigger and brighter prospects after being with Svitac for a whole year. Coordinating all the daily workshops, helping international volunteers acclimatise to their new positions, being a cheerful presence for all to be around, and a brilliant teacher. She too will be missed and we hope she stays in touch.
Starting in January we have Milica, a local volunteer who has taken on the mantel of daily workshop coordinator. After working with her a little so far, it is clear that she will be a great addition to the team and that she will be a brilliant teacher to the youth who participate in the Svitac schedule. It’s looking to be a bright year ahead of us here. All we have to do is keep up the good work.
Do remember to follow us on Facebook (Omladinska Organizacija Svitac), Twitter (Svitac_BiH) and Instagram (svitacbrcko) for more regular updates!
Ben Owens, Svitac EVS volunteer