Some of the best and brightest youth are also the ones with the most optimistic and fearless views on the future of BiH. I got a chance to have a sit-down and hold an informal interview with a group of young people from the latest generation of the Learn, Think and Act! training implemented by the Institute for Youth Development KULT. This provided me with firsthand accounts of the economic and political situation youth are in today.
Once we sat down and got to talking, it became clear that unemployment is a major concern, not just for my interviewees, but to all youth in the country. The 33% unemployment rate is unlikely to improve the current situation. All these successful youth leaders agree that the situation is difficult, but none of them said that it’s impossible to succeed. Many pointed out the lack of initiative they notice in young people, and the sense of learned helplessness that makes them out to be the main contributors to the stigma of negative economic prospects in BiH. One young leader expressed this perfectly: “We look at other countries and think they have it better, all while sitting on our hands and complaining about not liking it here.”
When I asked what could be done about it, and what they’re planning to do, the mood shifted to hope and optimism. There’s an ever-increasing number of organizations such as the Institute for Youth Development KULT whose mission is to offer the youth of this country a springboard to success and opportunities to access whatever resources they need to succeed. Non-governmental organizations provide young people with opportunities and trainings on entrepreneurship in a system that is very slow to adapt to new trends in employment, launching businesses, etc. Many of the people I talked to are not happy wih the political system, because they think that decision makers, i.e. politicians, need to take responsibility for supporting young people. It’s very important for youth in BiH to have chances and opportunities for building a better future together.
For the end of my interview, I wanted to see if these kinds of educational programs really do have a positive impact on participants. The responses I got were praise and flashes of hope. They ranged from meeting new people and learning new skills and how to work with different groups, to working on self-awareness. Here, young leaders learn skills they can use in their everyday lives.
The Learn, Think and Act! training program conducted by the Institute for Youth Development KULT had a huge impact on these young people who come from various parts of the country.