Trust & Unity – MindLeaps’ Programs in Bosnia-Herzegovina

In August 2017, MindLeaps ran a summer camp for youth, continuing its annual presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina,. The “Summer Camp of Friendship” brought together 80 children between the ages of 8 and 13 for two weeks in Mostar. The program focused on communication, shared experiences and social-emotional learning for children of all different backgrounds.

Spearheaded by MindLeaps’ Country Director, Tanja Raic Tarcuki, the camp was based at EMAUS, an educational meeting center. The space was given to MindLeaps by Caritas and Spes, contributing partners to the camp. MindLeaps’ staff led a series of creative activities with dance to engage the youth and build trust among the participants, and the program partners delivered educational workshops on communication skills and non-violent conflict resolution.

Beginnings and Partnerships

MindLeaps has run two projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina that focused on integrating youth of diverse ethnic backgrounds. The first project, Nas Svijet (“Our World”), started in 2009 in Brcko. Every summer, MindLeaps instructors ran a series of dance workshops for multi-ethnic youth in coordination with local partner organization Svitac (“Firefly”). The workshops involved dialogue about a pertinent social issue – such as HIV, conflict prevention or human rights – and a public performance as part of the city’s Annual Children’s Day Festival. Top students receive additional training in order to continue the workshops after the MindLeaps instructors depart.

In 2011, MindLeaps began its second program, Bridging Mostar Youth, in the divided city of Mostar. This program was created through a consortia of local organizations brought together by MindLeaps : RINGO, Nesto Vise, and B – Dance. Together, these organizations provide a multi-disciplinary dance program for underserved children living in the East Side and the West Side of the city. Dialogue sessions focus on social inclusion and education about universal human rights. Nesto Vise provides leadership training to top students to continue the program after MindLeaps instructors have completed the first six-weeks of workshops.