About the local hosting organization
Omladinska organizacija ‘Svitac’ is a youth-focused Bosnian NGO that was registered as a Bosnian NGO in 2003. We employ four local staff members (three full-time and one part-time), along with 10 volunteers (5 local and 5 international) to provide a wide range of creative activities (music, art, foreign languages) to an equally wide range of age-groups (4-18). We provide daily and monthly activities, along with a number of annual events. Our work is focused upon Brcko district, which is a distinctively multi-ethnic part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In providing the basis upon which positive and reciprocal interaction can occur, we aim to promote tolerance and reconciliation between each of the different nationalities (Bosniak, Croat and Serb). Our work today remains as important as when we were first founded – Brčko District remains deeply divided and the respective nationalities generally live alongside, rather than with each other. Our work is sustained by the belief that artistic, creative and educational activities offer a unique means through which we can engage with the hearts and minds of young people, helping them to reject intolerance and suspicion, encouraging them to define themselves by what they can achieve together rather than by what sets them apart.
About the volunteer work
Assisting with daily activities workshops (arts and crafts, music, languages, sport and dance), working for a total of 5-6 hours per day and working with groups of children and young people of varying sizes. The Volunteers will also be asked to help with preparations for the annual summer camp. Demonstrated proficiency in any core activity is preferred, although this is not required as a precondition. It is more important for applicants to evidence flexibility and initiative, along with the ability to work independently. The applicant will need to complete a DBS (previously CRB) check prior to starting this role.
(I) The coordination and implementation of our Summer Camp (music, creative and language), Children's Day and FutureShort film festival.
(II) Assisting with the development of music, language, sport and dance activities.
(III) Working with groups of children and young people of varying ages.
(IIII) Project design and implementation.
(V) Assisting the coordinator and other volunteers with their activities
(VI) Submitting a monthly report to the director documenting your work over the preceding month.
Volunteers will work 30 hours per week. They will have two days off per week (Saturday and Sunday). If the volunteers have to work on Saturday, they can have another day off. Working hours will may be fewer some weeks (especially at the start of the project), while during short one-off activities/events like the summer camps or festivals, they will probably be higher. Volunteer will work 5 days a week (Monday-Friday). These hours will approximately consist of: 20 hours of assisting with Svitac daily workshops (11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00), 4 hours of workshops (either his own or assisting other people); 3 hours preparation for workshops (both alone and with his youth partner), developing volunteers’ future projects with his youth partners, and travel to workshops; 3 hours writing reports, time sheets, writing his blog and learning language (self study or attending the course), making and putting posters for Svitac activities, contacting other groups to arrange for their participation in international events, assisting with organization of the three bigger cultural events, providing general administration/social media assistance at Svitac if required.
If they need they can take day(s) off in religious holidays (if any).
Volunteers stay in a shared apartment (two volunteers) or house (three volunteers), which are rented by Svitac. Volunteers have own bedroom, while the kitchen, bathroom and living room is shared. Bedsheets and towels are provided, although volunteers are more than welcome to bring their own. Brčko landlords usually charge per person, so any additional visitors may have to pay an extra cost (we will need to be informed in advance of any such arrangement, as we are legally required to inform the police registration department for foreigners). Svitac acts as an intermediary between the volunteer and landlord, addressing and resolving any problems.
Special info about the food
Volunteers are responsible to buy ingredients and prepare their own meals in their accommodation.
About the project location
Brčko sits one side of the river Sava, with the border control to Croatia operating on the bridge over the river. A smaller river, the Brka, also flows through the town. Most places and shops are within a few minutes walk of the main, pedestrianised street.The current population of the town is 39,339, and the population of the District is about 100,000. The town of Brcko is quite stable, economically, but the outlying areas have unemployment figures as high as 40%, and very poor populations.
In Brčko town, volunteers have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Brčko town, along with shops, supermarkets and bakeries. Bosnian cuisine incorporates Turkish, Middle Eastern, Central European and Mediterranean influences. It uses many spices, but usually in moderate quantities. Most dishes are light, as they are cooked in lots of water; sauces are fully natural, consisting of little more than the natural juices of the vegetables in the dish. Typical ingredients include tomatoes, potatoes, onions and garlic. Bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms and spinach also feature prominently, along with beans (dried and fresh), plums, milk, paprika and cream (called ‘pavlaka’ and ‘kajmak)’. Typical meat dishes include beef, pork and lamb. Local specialties include cevapi, burek, dolma, sarma, pilav (pilaf), gulas (goulash), ajvar and a whole range of Eastern sweets.
About the leisure activities possible
We don't organise visits or excursions for volunteers. Usually, volunteers travel on their own or with other volunteers during the weekend or their holidays time (if they are staying longer).
If, during their stay, Svitac has cooperation on different projects with other organisations from town or region international volunteers take part in these activities as well.
Extra info about the project
Volunteers are asked to pay 375€ for every month of their volunteering service as a program fee. This amount covers volunteers' accommodation, utility, visa and internet costs (200€ per month) and future program development (175€ per month) - volunteers' contribution is essential to us; without it, we would not be able to continue our work with the local community. Before arriving in Brčko , volunteers will also need to make financial arrangements for vaccinations (if necessary), flights, travel insurance, visas, travel (to and from Brčko District) and DBS checks. Once in Brčko District, volunteers will also need to cover a number of daily items, including food and travel - however, the cost of living is fairly affordable and these will not place huge strains if volunteers budget responsibly. Typically, each volunteer works for between 5-6 hours per day, leaving plenty of time free to enjoy all that the local community has to offer.
VISA (after arrival to Brcko):
In order to undertake volunteer work in Bosnia-Herzegovina, volunteers need to obtain a volunteer visa (Svitac will help volunteers to obtain the visa - visa costs are included in the program fee).