weekly blog from the 2011 Project
This week has been the final week of the main programme,
but it has not been the easiest week so far.
The art workshops have continued to be an amazing success
with the children making Mexican string eyes, paper
bag clowns, party hats and taking part in a monster
drawing contest. Work also started on the massive wall
mural on the stairs of the building which is almost
The photo workshop darkroom was transferred into an
open free space were children and teenagers can come
and use the space at their leisure with support on hand
if needed.This weeks picnic was held again, this time
in the park in Gornji Vakuf.
The web design workshop started this week, which will
result in the Omladinksi Centar designing and having
the ability to update their own website.
During the week the teen group has been organising the
Music Across Borders festival, which was an fantastic
demonstration of group work supported by many businesses
and people from both sides of the community. Sadly,
on the day of festival it had to be cancelled due to
threats made against teenage musicians if they would
play. Instead we had a small festival outside the center,
were candles were lit and the work produced by the children
and teenagers was projected onto the centar building.
The cancelling of the festival has provoked a lot of
support and shock in the community. We intend on turning
it into a positive incident rather than a negative.
It reminded everyone of why we are here and the problems
that still exist within elements of the community.
Next week will be the last update and a summary of the
Trees Across Borders built an amazing
park over the weekend. It was probably the fastest and
cheapest park ever built in Europe. The children from
both sides of this town worked extremely hard to get
the park finished. The handmade benches were produced
from local materials by a family who have turned out
to be a fantastic help to the project. Many local businesses
supported the project by supplying drinks, food, and
materials and extra plants were donated from the community.
The children also built mosaics that were set into the
grounds of the park. The park was opened on Sunday evening
with a lantern lit theatre performance that was attended
by a large crowd. We hope the park will become an area
that will be used by both sides of the community, especially
the children from the secondary school. We also hope
it will be developed further by the community over the
The photography workshops have turned into a massive
success with additional new students coming onboard
and existing students continuing with workshops to expand
their knowledge to produce some really amazing photographs.
The art workshops built mosaics for the park, painted
stones to be left around the plants, made paper flowers
and lanterns for the opening of the park. They also
had workshops based on collage, 3D sculpture and moulding
The movie group workshops have finished, but the group
is now focusing on stills photography and final cut
Last week was a great success for all involved and
the volunteers are amazing. We are looking forward to
the final week of the project and the possibility of
a festival on Saturday night.
During this week, the project has been developing and
expanding. The movie workshops have changed into one
week courses to give the opportunity for more teenagers
to attend. The new group had great fun together and
you can see their fantastic film by clicking on the
The photography workshops continued into their second
week and are proving to be highly popular and successful
. They have continued with the previous programme and
have started teaching more advanced photography to students
who are attending the second week.
The picnic took place again on Wednesday, with the children,
teenagers and the photography group going to Uskoplje
to eat, drink and have fun. The art workshops started
again on Thursday, with the art group creating a film
set and accompanying art for the movie group’s ‘stop
motion filming’ project.
Trees Across Borders has had to change its planned
site for the new park due to scheduled work at the hospital.
The new site is opposite the secondary school and will
create a space where teenagers from the "Two schools
under one roof" can hang out during their breaks.
It will also be a space which anyone can use, including
people waiting for buses. “Two schools under one roof”
is the school system where children of two ethnic groups
attend the same school building, but on different floors
with separate entrances.
There is more information on this system at the bottom
of the links page on this website.
During this week, the movie group have continued working
on the second film which will be a more serious piece
of work than the first. We hope to have it edited this
weekend so we can show the world premiere very soon!
Also, the photography workshops started this week which
have been an amazing success. There are around 30 children
and teenagers already taking part in the workshops and
they have been learning about making pin hole cameras,
taking pictures and developing them in the darkroom.
Now there is a big group of young people running around
taking pictures all over the town! Some of the teens
will return next week to assist with the teaching of
the next workshops. One child was even inspired to make
their own camera at home.
We’ve have had many more meetings about the ‘Trees
Across Borders’ project with urban engineers,
mine clearance officers, plant and tree suppliers as
well as the OSCE. We have also started giving flyers
out around the town to get volunteers on the two days
of building. Yes, that is right, we are going to build
the park in just two days! That’s less time than 'Challenge
Anneka' would get!
We've had our second picnic this week, this time in
the Uskoplje part of town. It was a great day out were
children from both sides of town came together, enjoyed
some nice food and played games. We have decided to
make this a weekly event as it enables the children
and teens from the different parts of the program to
come together at least once a week. It also gives everyone
an opportunity to see parts of the town they would not
usually visit and also gives exposure to both the project
and Omladinski Centar. This is a very sensitive idea
to try and has been successful so far.
The second course of movie making started on the 25th
July with a smaller and less varied age range group.
They are working on a film that will be much different
than the first film production.
On Friday, the two volunteers who will lead the photography
workshops arrived after driving all the way from Berlin
and spent Friday and Saturday setting up the dark room.
Their courses will start on Tuesday as on Monday they
have to go to Travnik to register.
We also had some more meetings in relation to ‘Trees
Across Borders’ which is still in the early stages.
So far the project has been very successful and everything
is going to plan. The children and teenagers are having
fun and learning new skills. Trees Across Borders
is having a very big impact in the town and may end
up being the most important part of the bridges across
borders project for the town.
The last week (18th to the 24th) has seen a continuation
of the movie workshops and our movie group has progressed
to making a brilliant film which has now been edited
... and you can view the film, The Chase,
by clicking on the link below ...
The art workshops have also started with a young group
of mixed ethnicity children enjoying a number of activities,
including making paper birds, painting big monsters
and decorating an enormous cardboard tree.
During the week the children have also taken part in
a wide range of sporting events and games that has helped
to develop a good sense of camaraderie amongst them.
A number of meetings with OSEC and BHmic have taken
place for the Trees Across Borders
project. Possible sites have been chosen and will be
confirmed during the coming week. The idea is well supported
within the town and includes building a small park for
patients, their families and friends who attend the
Click on Trees Across Borders to see photos from the construction of and the finished park. This park was built by volunteers from the community and all around the world.
There are also more images on our Facebook page
In addition, we have now purchased most of the supplies
for the August program and festival.
Weeks 1 and 2
The project started on the 10th July after one week
of preparation. Whilst we naturally build some contingency
time into the project plan, there were a number of unforeseen
issues to deal with such as settling the long term volunteer
payments required in Bosnia, accommodation problems
and photographic equipment breaking in transit. So after
overcoming these first few hurdles, the first part of
the project was ready to go.
The initial set of the programmes centre on a series
of movie making workshops. These workshops were well
attended by a diverse mixture of the community spanning
across a wide range of ages. After an introduction to
still photography and composition, the groups were taught
about using cameras, recording sound and different styles
of film making.
After creating some story boards, the group were eager
to try out their newly developed skills and they were
quickly filming around the town, interviewing each other
and then editing their work with some extremely encouraging
results. Buoyed by the success of their first foray
into film, the group have also discussed and developed
an amazing idea for their film that they will make next
The group has really bonded and have been enjoying
all aspects of the program so far, resulting in Lorena
who is a member of the group saying, "This is the
best workshop so far in the Omladinski Centar."
From Monday we will start running art workshops and
then over the next few weeks, many new aspects of the
programme will begin as we build to the climax of the
project at the end of August. Everything is going to
plan and we are receiving extremely positive feedback
off people from both sides of the town.
There have also been some wonderful, heart warming
moments. For example, our volunteers stay with designated
families within the community. One evening, we were
struggling to find a particular volunteers house and
we were literally lost with no idea where to go. A number
of friendly residents then came to our rescue, and this
resulted in a young boy running up the street to tell
us that the volunteer was staying at his house. So we
followed him into the house and we were given a fantastic
welcome by the family. It then transpired that this
wasn’t even the right house, but the only question that
the family had was ‘How long did our volunteer want
Whilst this is just one small example, there have been
many more, and no doubt they’ll be many more to come.