Real lives

Real lives


Bugojno – a town fit for all children

Students debating within the group at the workshop in the Secondary school Bugojno

After spending a lot of  away from the company of teenagers, a person tends to forget just how much energy they have.  At the entrance of the Secondary Technical School in Bugojno, I was simply deafened by the vibrancy and energy present in the hallways, feeling as if I could almost touch the zeal and adrenaline.
This atmosphere also extends into the classrooms. And then, the professor comes in, the lectures start and everything calms down.

Yet the class we attended was somewhat different. It was actually a workshop, of a kind which brings together fifteen boys and girls of different age, all students of this school.
Although the workshop was conducted and moderated by Ms. Alma Brcic, a school pedagogue, the atmosphere was far from quiet.

Young debatants present their arguments at the workshop

A lively debate, whether physical beauty is decisive for a success in life, was quickly  underway.

The students were divided into two debate groups – the “affirmations” and the “negations” group.

They debated within the groups, trying to come up with as many arguments as possible to defend their case. After they concluded, representatives of each group presented the statements in public as well as their arguments in support of their statements. This was followed by a question and answer session. The debate was on the verge of turning into a bellicose discussion; fortunately, the moderator was doing her job extremely well.

The team arguing that beauty is not decisive for success emerged as the winner in this debate and their colleagues from the opposing team graciously congratulated them.

Regrettably, these sorts of workshops and debates are not an integral part of the school curricula for the secondary school students, but only a part of the project “Bugojno – a town fit for all children,” by the local community from Bugojno and the non-governmental organization IBHI, supported by UNICEF and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation – NORAD -  for the second year running.

The goal of the project is primarily to provide support to neglected children and young people, and improve their psychosocial condition.

One of the most important outcomes expected from these activities is to have a higher level of positive behavior among ninety children and young people, amongst whom difficulties or behavioral issues had been observed. In addition, a manual for the workshop activity is to be prepared, and a group of trained volunteers to work with neglected children is to be established.

Ms. Brcic said these workshops are convened two times per month. The teenagers attending these workshops are those among whom a problem in behavior or communication has been observed, and those who frequently miss classes or have difficult home situations.

After conducting several workshops, some progress has already been observed, in both the communication and behavior of these students. Also significant is the socialization factor, facilitated through these workshops.

Of a particular success was a workshop on violence in family. Young people have not only recognized and clearly defined the problem of violence, but they have very openly talked about this issue in their own families.

This was confirmed by a female student, a participant in the workshop.
When asked about the impressions of the workshops, she responded: “It’s excellent. We talk about everything. We’ve had a workshop on violence in family the other day. Violence is something that happens in my family and the workshop helped me to face it in the right way.”

While she was speaking, I felt a slight unease. She did not. And if this would be the only value added of this Project, it would be more than sufficient.

Nineta Popovic
Communications Assistant, UNICEF BIH

This story was written as an outcome of field visit to Bugojno, where the local community, supported by IBHI and UNICEF  implements project “Town fit for children”



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