Srebrenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Something begins to happen when a group of creative people come together who all care about the same thing. In this case the same thing is Srebrenica and its community, whether children, young people or those in need.
Jasmin, Mix, Almir, Prisca, Maja, Irina, Marko, Muamer, Tina, Rada, Hariz, Oggi, Amer, Izmar, Sandra, Elma, Nikola and Nevena met at various times from the 5th to the 10th October in Srebrenica.
We were joined by Will Richards from the local OSCE office and Olaf Deussen, working in Human Rights and Education at the European Commission in Sarajevo.
We ate at Bato’s and Motel Alic and spent some good evenings at Café Malboro. Some of us slept at Motel Alic and some at Hotel Misirlje.
We ran a series of workshops in theatre, art and sports (rugby) and spent a sunny morning exploring the glories of the walk to the Guber spa. Great improvements here and the hotel and spa are coming along nicely. It would be good if the politicians stopped playing football with this project and allowed the building work to be completed so the town could benefit from the employment and all the visitors who would come. It really is a very beautiful place and the benefits of the medicinal waters are scientifically proven, as well as being part of folk-lore.
Most importantly of all we talked and talked and decided to find ways to work together more, to plan activities and to find ways to support and deliver the long list of ideas that emerged. Above all to communicate and support each within the town and region and with all of us who are connected in one way or another to this special place. Young people have made many changes in Srebrenica since the war. There have been good times and not so good times. At the moment much of what was achieved in the past no longer exists, and we must try again.
Domino Network, with the Unique Youth Organisation from Jelah, brought representatives from Visegrad, Jelah and Sarajevo. Srebrenica Wave Festival with Portagora (Netherlands) and TCFT/Opera Circus (UK), the Youth Centre Srebrenica and others. We constantly exchanged ideas and ways of working.
Domino has a page on the TCFT web site and it would be good if we could have an update from the organisation when there is news. Everyone also expressed the desire to support the young people in Visegrad where possible and to work with Almir, Armin, Elma and Jasmin in Jelah if there are ways we can be useful.
TCFT will create a page for this close community of minds and action. We will like each other’s Facebook pages and those of our partners and share web page links. The success and progress of this work will grow, if everyone who can, shares the information on a regular basis.
Rada, the Director of the Youth Centre Srebrenica, with support, will be developing a communications and marketing plan which will include a new web site for the Youth Centre (Marko arrived back home just in time!) Irina, as we know, is a great designer and can help with posters and leaflets as well as murals – Irina and Amer are keen to work together with local children on these ideas. Jasmin has offered his gifts both in working with children with sport and his skills in marketing. A more detailed report including offers from the others will be available shortly.
There will be a plan of action and activities for 2017. Dates will be published well in advance for planned community or project work in Srebrenica and its villages. We aim to publicise this widely. We hope this will encourage TCFT people and others with skills to offer to volunteer help under the leadership of Mix, Muamer and Prisca. The lead must come from local people. They know what’s needed. They live there.
At the moment if you book flights through Wizz air from London Luton to Tuzla, the return price is around £25 from end of November onwards.
If you have any particular skills you can offer, please let us know.
Fund raising of course, is always welcome.
Mix, Prisca and Muamer have a list of activities that have been funded from the Netherlands. The first of these is to help to repair an elementary school, the playground, fence, painting walls, etc., Chairs and tables have been provided via Portagora and I imagine some funding for heating and other equipment would also be helpful. Dates for this action soon.
At the moment there are a number of TCFT people planning to go to Bosnia during November. The more people who can visit, even for a short time, the more supportive we can be. The winter’s can be lonely and bleak and very, very cold, particularly if you have a youth centre with no heating. A shame on all of us who have been unable to find the funding to heat and insulate this vital centre.
More information soon.
Tina Ellen Lee