Summer School for 15th Generation of UMiD Leaders

Over the past 7 days, from July 9 to 15, 23 future young leaders from 13 BiH towns have been spending time together at the Educational-Leisure Center for Youth SPAJALICA during the Learn, Think and Act! Summer school. During the Summer school, participants worked on self-empowerment, learned about human rights and took part in interactive exercises designed to teach them conflict-solving skills. Fair weather allowed them to take advantage of all the amenities offered by Spajalica, including the nearby park where some of the exercises took place.

Anesa Čutuna, a participant from Goražde, shared her impressions:

“All the previous modules were permeated with anticipation of the Summer school because we knew it would be something special. I spent seven days with people who are here for the same reason, people who became like family to me. We bonded even more, and I believe we forged some life-long friendships. We laughed and had fun together while learning new things, working in groups, and sharing our opinions with others. We got to meet experienced individuals who were once in our shoes and who approached us as friends more than trainers. The most memorable part, the thing that brought us together was the exploration of emotions. We realized how important self-esteem is, and that we have to always try to grow and improve. Exploring our emotions let us realize how similar we are, and that we all have stories we kept hidden until today. During this Summer school, we worked up the courage to share with people we trust all the stories we had to tell – good and bad. Without judgment, without prejudice, we were all there for each other, offering affection and hugs whenever needed. We’re going home with countless memories and lessons we’ll be drawing on in all kinds of circumstances. This was really something special – so special that I have no words that can do justice to how I feel about these people and the Institute.”

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The participants also took part in study visits and extracurricular activities, such as the visit to the War Childhood Museum.

“Our visit to the Was Childhood Museum left a strong impression on me. All the exhibits are presented in such a simple, comprehensive way. I studied each exhibit in detail, taking the time to read the description and find out why a particular item was chosen. The museum had swings, old clothes, notebooks that children did their homework in during the war. I didn’t expect these items to make me reflect so deeply on how they must have felt during the war, and what they’d been through. The video interviews with people describing what happened to them made the strongest impression on me. When I left the museum, I realized how much happiness there is in little things, and that violence is never the solution because it can rob someone of the best years of their childhood”, said Marko Vračević, a participant from Mostar.

Music abounded during the Summer school, but music therapy workshops brought in particularly impactful melodies. Ajdin Karić, a participant from Srebrenik, currently a university student in Sarajevo, had this to say about the music therapy workshop:

“The music therapy we had with the expert who led the workshops was a welcome tool for lifting out mood and getting rid of the negative energy that tends to pile up, especially since that day was busier than usual. Another interesting aspect was the opportunity to express ourselves through music and create a rhythm together. We learned about new instruments from around the world and got to try our hand at playing some of them. Experiencing the harmony and the feeling of togetherness we created was phenomenal. The session just flew by and we all wished it could have lasted longer.”

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Džejla Balić from Konjic was another participant who shared her experience and impressions from the Summer school:

During these unforgettable 7 days that I spent in the Learn, Think, and Act” training for young leaders, I had an amazing time with other participants who were very cooperative with trainers, accepting of group work and generous with empathy. The trainers were a special highlight – they did their best to share their knowledge and experience with us and to motivate us to fight for our rights and understand our emotions. I think the topics we learned about during these three modules are very important and that we always have something new to learn. We, the 16th generation of UMiD put maximum effort in each activity and always tried to share positive messages. During these seven days, we bonded more than ever before and became a real family. I’d recommend this experience to everyone because this was really a very productive week that we’ll remember for a long time to come.”

UMiD 16 is implemented within the project Dialogue for a Joint Future, supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in BiH.

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