MARCH AT SVITAC (FIREFLY) – volunteer’s blog

Spring has finally sprung here at Svitac (Firefly), and everyone is feeling the better for it. Gone are the long winter nights, the lack of sunglasses being worn, and the forever looming possibility of knee-deep snowfall. Yes, the sun is starting to come out of its brief hibernation and allowing us all to go outside and play in its glory. With the new season and the sun, a fresh new wave of attendees has come to daily workshops. Eager to learn and to participate in all things Svitac (Firefly) has to offer.

The month of March saw many goings-on around the Youth Centre. From daily lessons that provide informal teaching methods to the youth community of Brcko, led by internationally sourced volunteer staff; to the advanced workshops in specialist artistic subjects. All this as well as hosting discussions and meetings held on internationally recognised events, like International Anti-racism day (meticulously planned and confidently led by Eleonore, one of our British volunteers).

Unfortunately we have had some sad times at Svitac (Firefly) this month, as we have had to say goodbye to the incredibly bubbly spirit that is Bonnie Sturgess. Bonnie took two months out of her and her partners’ travelling of the globe to volunteer in Brcko, and to help the organisation in any way she could. Though her time here was brief, it could not have been more welcome. Volunteer morale increased tenfold, English classes were invigorated, and the kids loved having someone as who was so invested in their education here.
We wish Bonnie and Joel good luck on their trips around the rest of Europe, the Americas, and wherever they may land. We also wish them further luck when they get home to Australia.

Though we have said goodbye, the volunteers and the children both have continued to ride the waves of enthusiasm left behind. Daily workshops for children ages 3-7yrs old (11:00hr – 13:00hr), and for kids aged 8 and above (14:00hr – 15:30hr) have continued to learn fascinating things through the arts, music, and through sport. From the different functioning factions of a beehive to grammatically delivering descriptions of people correctly. The inner workings of the ear to memory mastermind games played in German.

Like we do every year, on the 21st of March, Svitac (Firefly) took part in ‘European Action Week’ ran by ‘United for Intercultural Action’, which is an initiative that helps encourage organisations, from all across Europe, to prepare and enact activities and events for their communities on the International Day Against Racism.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, this week was prepared and led by Eleonore Pearson to brilliant ends. Teaching the younger daily workshop through the art of storytelling and art, the importance of never to judge a person by their appearance. In the older groups, Eleonore touched on themes of racism and prejudice through historical and current issues. Tying everything together through the means of different artists and musicians who used their work to protest such injustices, Eleonore held discussions with three differing age demographics throughout the week.

Informative workshops that offered a safe space to hold in depth conversations on these topics make International Day Against Racism a necessary one, and Svitac (Firefly) is very happy to take part in ‘European Action Week’ initiative.

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!)

Ben Owens, Svitac EVS volunteer



Volunteer Blog