Our volunteering at Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) – Mahmut Toprak and Ismail Abur, Turkey

Hi dear readers! My name is Mahmut Toprak, a 21-year-old from Şanlıurfa/Turkey. I am a student at Munzur university which is located in Turkey. I am studying in the field of English Language & Literature. Before I tell you about my abroad experience, I would like to mention my best friend. His name is İsmail Abur. He is 19 years old from Şanlıurfa/Turkey like me. He is a student at Harran university and studying to be a tourist guide. We have been friends with each other for 12 years. A year ago, we joined a speaking club in Şanlıurfa with an organisation called Gap Gençlik Youth Center. We improved our speaking skills very fast thanks to this organization. After a while this organization wanted to send us abroad for a volunteering project, they gave us this opportunity as a gift.

İn September we got our passports and we waited for a long time to come here. Before coming here, due Covid-19, we had to have a medical check (PCR Test). After this medical check, unfortunately, our results were positive so we were put in quarantine for 10 days. Those were our toughest days because we had nothing to do except stay at home. After our quarantine period finished, we had a medical test again and fortunately the second time our results were negative and we were able to come to Bosnia Herzegovina/Brcko.

That was our first experience of travelling abroad so it was very exciting and a big challenge for me and my friend. We prepared ourselves very fast and came here. After we arrived in Bosnia Herzegovina we came to Brcko by bus – it took 6 hours to come to Brcko from Sarajevo. The first week in Brcko was an adaptation period for us. We found Brcko to be a very lively and small town. We worked with Svitac (Firefly Bosnia); thanks to this organization we experienced so many things such as learning languages, culture, peacebuilding and climbing in our free time. We made videos about some issues such as freedom of education, met different young people, students and other international volunteers from the UK. On 24th December we came back to Turkey and it was a very useful and good experience for both of us.

We would like to recommend this project to everyone who would like to discover, develop skills and learn more about solidarity in youth life.

Mahmut Toprak and İsmail Abur, Turkey
Svitac’s (Firefly Bosnia’s) volunteers, December 2020


Volunteer Testimonial