Our volunteering at Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) – Simge Kılıç and Ayşenur Ulutaş, Turkey
Solidarity is life with people from different religions and cultures!
Hello we are Simge, 21 and Aysenur, 23. We met through a project. After the project was over, we did not break our friendship and kept in constant communication. We both wanted to volunteer abroad because we had this experience in our own country and we wanted to experience it in other cultures as well. Our paths crossed again in this project, while we were both in search of separate projects. Aysenur applied to another project, and while waiting for a response, she got accepted onto this project. Simge had already been accepted onto this project, so it was a happy coincidence for both of us.
We looked forward to the day of travel. We wanted that time to pass quickly because the idea of volunteering in a different country for a month excited us both. When that day finally came, even we didn’t believe it. When we were leaving, we looked at each other, and said ‘we are in the moment we dreamed.’
We were very excited as neither of us had been abroad before. We both knew how enjoyable it was to meet new people and be in a new culture and work with young people and children. We had taken part in many volunteering activities and social responsibility projects, we worked with both children and young people, but for the first time, we came together with individuals speaking different languages in a different country. Although we do not know the local language of Bosnian, we communicated well and told each other about our own cultures. Thanks to the people here, we learned basic Bosnian concepts while improving our English, so we could easily use them in our daily lives.
In this town where many nations come together, we gained the opportunity to get to know many cultures, languages and religions. We made many friends in our social life in the youth centre and the city and shared great times with them.
The time we spent with the children was incredibly enjoyable for us. Generating ideas for them and preparing events for them motivated us a lot. We were very enthusiastic and happy while doing these. When we did these activities with children, we saw the happiness in their eyes and felt once again that we are volunteers.
By preparing workshops for children, we taught Turkish words and developed activities that would improve their motor skills. We assisted with the workshops prepared by other volunteers. We held music workshops with young people and learned by having fun together.
We were very happy to be here, it has had very good effects on our lives and we have gained some very good memories.
The experience of living in a different country impressed us a lot, we learned about life in Bosnia. We brought things that are not in our country back to Turkey, we tried to integrate things that are in our country but not in Bosnia. In this way, we had the opportunity to exchange culture and experience. During our time here, we have improved ourselves in many areas. That’s why we thank Svitac Bosnia and GAP Association for bringing us together.
Simge Kılıç and Ayşenur Ulutaş, Turkey
Svitac’s (Firefly Bosnia’s) volunteers, July 2021