Non-formal education in refugee camp in BiH

“This way of learning is very interesting, I could do this for hours”

Nejra Baltes
Non-formal education in refugee camp in BiH
26 October 2020

There is a lot of commotion in the Child-Friendly Space (CFS) on this early fall morning in Temporary Reception Centre Ušivak, in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH). Children have gathered for their scheduled English lessons, but the World Vision BiH staff has a surprise for them – UNICEF provided computer tablets with the Akelius Language Learning Course application for the CFS, and the English lessons are shifting to a digital model. The application is offering playful learning methods, such as learning through songs and games, and the children are excited to start.

I want to go to London, England and I want to speak perfect English when I get there”, says Abdullah

“This way of learning is very interesting, I could do this for hours”, says Abdulla (16), from Turkey.

The lessons that take place in a Child-Friendly Space are a part of a wider effort aiming to provide a sense of stability to children on the move, assist unaccompanied minors and provide psychosocial support to mothers and future mothers. With the support of UNICEF, through a project funded by the European Union, World Vision BiH is providing protection and access to basic social services for refugee and migrant children in the Refugee Reception Centre Salakovac – Mostar and Temporary Reception Centre Ušivak – Sarajevo.

“Study groups are formed according to the age of the children, and according to their language knowledge”, says Lida Hanić Assistant teacher.

This is, however, not the only reason children study in small groups.

Acutely aware of the ongoing risks of the coronavirus transmission, World Vision BiH staff schedules multiple study sessions for the smaller groups of students and makes sure that the children keep the physical distance.

Children are adapting fast to the situation – they do not need to be reminded to disinfect their hands and mind the physical distance.

They accept the new way of learning English just as quickly. Children are swiping fast and pronouncing after the voice coming from the computer tablet. Akelius Language Learning Course seems to be adaptable to their individual learning style and the level of comprehension.

“I want to go to London, England and I want to speak perfect English when I get there”, says Abdullah.

Abdullah is one of the unaccompanied minors who reside in the Temporary Reception Centre Ušivak. Supported by UNICEF, World Vision BiH staff act as guardians of these children, offering them non-stop care, providing information, counseling, and non-formal education.

After leaving his homeland Pakistan, Abdullah spent two years on the road before arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Crossing through the many countries his circumstances changed continuously, but he managed to stay in contact with his family.

“I wish to do well in life to make my mother proud”, he says.