Program ini membawa kebersamaan bagi anak muda dari tiga Negara yang berbeda selama 7 hari proyek pertukaran pemuda Internasional di Bosnia & Herzegovina. Tujuan utama program ini adalah untuk mendukung anak-anak muda dalam mengembangkan rasa pengertian dan empati terhadap budaya lain serta mendidik nilai-nilai dari pendidikan di tempat terbuka dan gaya hidup sehat. Program ini membawa bersama anak-anak muda dengan dan tanpa gangguan penglihatan untuk saling belajar mengenai penyertaan dan pemahaman budaya.
Program pertukaran ini diselenggarakan di kota Ključ di Barat laut Bosnia & Herzegovina. Selama pertukaran, anak-anak muda akan terlibat dalam berbagai kegiatan, presentasi and permainan, yang mana semua itu memiliki fokus dalam menghancurkan hambatan berkomunikasi, golongan, kemampuan dan budaya.
Menjelang permulaan kursus kami telah memperkenalkan perbedaan jenis gangguan penglihatan yang dipimpin oleh Tracie Tappenden (Kepala Eksekutif di Victa Children), Tracie mengajarkan para peserta mengenai berbagai gangguan seperti Glaukoma, Katarak dan Nystagmus. Sesi tersebut membantu para peserta mendapatkan gambaran mengenai perbedaan gangguan yang ada. Selama sesi semua peserta diberi kesematan untuk berbagi mengenai perbedaan gangguan yang mereka miliki serta menjelaskan kondisi apa saja yang terlibat. VICTA juga menyediakan kursus dengan menggunakan berbagai jenis kacamata yang dapat menghasilkan tiruan dari berbagai macam gangguan yang mana semua peserta diberi kesempatan untuk menggunakan dan mengalami perbedaan kondisi yang dirasakan. Sebagai contoh, beberapa kacamata memiliki noda hitam, beberapa menunjukan penglihatan terowongan dan yang lainnya hanya membiarkan cahaya masuk.
Program pertukaran ini juga memfokuskan kepada pendidikan di tempat terbuka dan para peserta terlibat dalam dua aktifitas seputar topik ini. The first was a game of “Blind Cricket” which is a version of cricket adapted for blind or partially sighted players. The game involved using a large ball with a bell inside to help players locate it during the game. All of the participants who were not visually impaired wore a blindfold whilst playing. This activity put everybody on an equal playing field and even local young people from the area came to join in. The game was arrange by Thomas Norton, one of the volunteers from VICTA Children who came to support the course. As a result of this exchange Thom decided to take up another challenge offered by Act Global which was signing up for one years European Voluntary Service project with TDM 2000 in Sardinia, Italy. Thom in now living in Cagliari, Sardinia.
The other outdoor activity we did was a trek in the local mountains. Our host partners in Bosnia & Herzegovina (Kosmos) arranged for guides to take us on the trek, although challenging at parts all participants enjoyed the experience that took us to the top of the mountains. We finished the trek by walking down into the valley and having a pre-arrange picnic by the river where some of the group decided to jump and swim in the river.
“The best thing about the day was getting the chance to chat to so many of the other people and find those that you wanted to spend more time with.”
Edward Bates, Participant for the UK.
To complement the learning about healthy lifestyles we also spent a day cooking a health meal together. Mark Reeve, one of the volunteers from VICTA Children, organised the activity and split the group into three to make the starter, main course and desert. All participants had a role to plan and the result was a great meal that everyone enjoyed.
During our time in Ključ, participants were able to explore the town and local surroundings. As the town is mostly inhabited by Muslims, one day we were invited to visit the local mosque where we were greeted by the local Imam. Participants were given a tour of the mosque, with explanations about all the different areas and why they were there. The tour was finished with an open questions and answer session with the Imam. After this visit the Imam very kindly took our participants to the cafe next door where he bought drinks for the whole group.
Each of the three countries involved in the program was given an opportunity to present their own culture in a presentation. The presentations involved games, music, and sharing their native food to the rest of the group. This session helped participants gain a greater understanding of each others country and culture. In addition, we also held a session discussing stereotypes of each of the nations present. Participants were encouraged to write on post-it notes all the stereotypes (positive or negative) they held of each others countries. Each nation was then presented with these preconceived ideas and answered any questions that arose, often resulting in the dispelling of myths, the breaking of stereotypes and finding out what is true.
One of the incidents many people know about Bosnia & Herzegovina is the war that took place in the 1990’s. To help our participants understand more about the war our native host Azra gave a session where she explained why it happened, who was involved and what brought it to an end. The session gave participants the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the roots of conflict in the area. During the week, many of the participants admitted to having a preconceived notion of Bosnia & Herzegovina being a place of conflict and division caused by the war. However, at the end of the week they undoubtedly left with an altered belief of it being a place of beautiful mountainous landscapes, warm hospitality and great food. Many friendships where made during the course and tears were shed when we all had to leave.
The partners on the exchange were.
Please check out our Facebook page to see the photos from the project or contact us if you are interested to get involved in our future projects, either as a volunteer, partner organisation or participant