Gornji Vakuf Uskoplje
For many the war in Bosnia is a distant memory. Yet this town still bears many scars from the terrible conflict; with war damaged buildings and an ever present danger from mines, cluster bombs and Uxos. There are around 6000 inhabitants, mainly from two ethnic groups – Croatian and Bosniac. They are separated by a dividing road and there is still tension between some members of these groups.
Our first project started in the town of Gornji Vakuf Uskoplje in 2011. The divided town was not limited to a road. The town as the whole Balkan region is littered with reminders of a series of tragedies we cannot even begin to contemplate.
Many of the inhabitants are still understandably deeply affected by the attrocities that occured during the war and it is easy to see why they would find it difficult to associate with people who were, not so long ago, sworn enemies. In addition there are regional economic and political problems that frustrate the ideals and the wishes of the youth to move on.
Our aim is to help the youth and adults by working with local NGO’s to provide a platform to come together, not to discuss resolution, or everlasting peace. But to simply enable they and their children have a possibility to integrate and have fun in a safe environment… and go some way to help bridging the divide.
Documentary about the school system in the Bosnian federation areas – Two Schools Under One Roof
Recent documentary about current political and social tensions: Bosnia’s Fragile Peace
Omladinski centar is the first local NGO BAB worked in partnership with.
The youth centre started up at the end of the war and it focuses its work on conflict resolution and peace building with children and teenagers through a variety of projects. These have included theatre, sports, art, group holidays, IT training and environmental projects. Each programme runs with multi ethnic participation as a central theme.
A number of people from around the world, and also families and businesses from Gornji Vakuf Uskoplje played a big part in helping our projects…
Background reading on the ‘Omladinski’ Centre and it’s work: http://lgi.osi.hu/ethnic/csdb/results.asp?idx=no&id=172