Vol. 10, No. 1, December,
Community Service Program Empowers Local Organizations
|Volunteers from IPAK, an organization
dedicated to youth programs,
earn equipment for a community center by helping restore
a city park.
Bosnia’s Community Service Program strengthens the fabric
of the communities in which it works, as those who are helped
by FOB offer help in turn to others in need. Our program is
based upon the belief that straight charity is harmful to
a person’s spirit and self-respect and often causes
a debilitating sense of dependency as well as resentment.
Instead of charity, FOB’s Community Service Program
offers beneficiaries the opportunity to generate a healthy
sense of accomplishment, self-respect, and self-reliance,
as recipients “earn” assistance by being of service
to their own community.
There are many examples: The Tuzla Association for the Hearing
Impaired (TAHI) needed equipment for its community center,
which FOB provided. In turn, TAHI provided volunteers to restore
the city’s parks. Nermin Mujicinovic received free classes
in Java and PHP computer programming through FOB’s information
technology (IT) training program. Meanwhile, he helped FOB
purchase and repair a used car for a community rehabilitation
center that helps troubled youth recover from drug addiction.
And ASSD, a student organization, received computer equipment
for their IT center, while ASSD provided volunteers for planting
over 200 trees throughout Tuzla.
Following are some of the stories of community organizations
participating in FOB’s Community Service Program.
Association for the Hearing Impaired (TAHI)
The Tuzla Association for the Hearing Impaired
organizes cultural, educational, and sports activities for
hearing-impaired members of the community. In addition, through
its community center in central Tuzla, TAHI creates job opportunities
for hearing-impaired individuals through its auto repair business,
sewing business, and soon, through recent FOB assistance,
an Internet café. Friends of Bosnia is assisting TAHI
in several ways, including:
- Providing furniture and equipment for improving
a café at the TAHI community center, which will create
a meeting place for hearing-impaired people and their friends
and families. The café will generate income for TAHI
and provide an educational facility for teaching marketable
skills in information technology.
- Providing computers for an Internet learning
center at TAHI, which will be used for classes in basic
computer skills, as well as courses in graphic design and
computer programming. When not being used as a classroom,
the learning center will function as part of an Internet
café, thereby helping earn income for TAHI.
- Providing auto repair equipment for TAHI’s
auto repair business and sewing machines for its garment
business, both of which help create employment for members
and earn income for the organization.
- Helping TAHI develop a transparent decision-making
process and a financial plan as well as negotiate a viable
settlement of the large rental debt TAHI is facing as a
result of the war and ensuing financial difficulties.
IPAK is an organization dedicated to helping
youth. The name derives from a word that means something like
“With that said, onward,” as in “Yes, a
terrible thing happened; ipak we can work together today to
create a better future.” Working together with IPAK
to create a better future, FOB is helping the organization
develop a community center in an underserved area outside
of Tuzla, as well as working with IPAK in eastern Bosnia.
- Providing computers for the Internet center,
to be used as an educational and computer center for local
residents of all ages. One joint FOB and IPAK project involves
creating programs for senior citizens designed to introduce
them to the Internet. This technology will allow older residents
to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren throughout
the world, who, as a result of the war, may have emigrated
thousands of miles from their homeland.
- Providing a movie projector for the community
center, which in turn creates a gathering place and entertainment
for local residents, while enhancing sustainability by generating
income for the community center.
- Working with IPAK in outreach programs to
eastern Bosnia. Friends of Bosnia helped IPAK obtain support
from SFOR and UNHCR for its activities in Krizevici near
Zvornik. And IPAK is helping FOB develop the Community Service
Program in Zvornik. In addition to arranging affordable
transportation and media attention for Zvornik-based activities,
IPAK was instrumental in helping FOB instantly develop strong
relations with Zvornik’s mayor and local authorities,
resulting in a very successful pilot project in Zvornik
in the fall of 2003.
of Students in Student Dormitories (ASSD)
|ASSD’s self-sustaining computer
Through FOB’s Community Service Program,
ASSD has developed into one of the strongest student organizations
at Tuzla University. With over 400 members and a leadership
dedicated to the values of leadership by example, genuine
transparency, and inclusion, ASSD advocates for improved student
conditions while providing discounted computer services at
their computer lab. FOB has:
- Helped ASSD develop transparent and inclusive decision-making
- Provided eight computers, a multipurpose printer, a copier,
and furnishings for a student center that provides discounted
computer and office services to students. Services include
Internet access, Microsoft Office, scanning, printing, and
- Helped ASSD further develop its organization with such
initiatives as greater membership involvement through petitions
and advocacy programs, as well as helping negotiate a favorable
contract with a local
Internet service provider.
ASSD is now fully self-sustaining with five
student staff members. The organization’s current income
covers all monthly expenditures, with a surplus for a rainy-day
fund. FOB is currently helping ASSD build relationships with
OSCE, OHR, and UNHCR to further develop this model for cultivating
student leadership and self-sustaining student services.
(Organization for people suffering from trauma)
FOB is helping Fenix develop a therapy-through-farming
program, which will provide therapeutic group activities,
create income for members, and help Fenix become self-sustaining.
FOB is providing a trailer, rototillers, and farming equipment
for a Fenix program through which members will farm and harvest
private land. Fenix will then either give a percentage of
the harvest to the landowners or provide assistance to farmers
and in return
receive a percentage of the harvest. The harvest will be sold
in local markets, with the proceeds going to Fenix members
and the organization. The group farming activities will be
incorporated into the group therapy program, so members can
use the farming as a catalyst for healing. FOB is helping
Fenix become a part of the SFOR Mentorship Program, which
will provide trained US military psychologists to teach methods
of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prijateljice’s membership is 95 percent
women–many of whom are survivors of the massacres in
eastern Bosnia. Prijateljice creates jobs for members through
laundry services, a vehicle-washing facility, and a rug-cleaning
In 2003, because of a lack of water from the municipal water
supply, Prijateljice services were functioning at only 30
percent capacity. In November 2003, FOB dug a well and provided
pumps and new cleaning equipment, bringing Prijateljice’s
businesses up to 100 percent capacity with higher quality
Through FOB’s Community Service Program, Prijateljice
has proven itself
a very healthy organization dedicated to its mission with
a strong active membership. FOB is now helping Prijateljice
develop markets through advocacy, consulting in advertising,
and partnerships with local NGOs also participating in FOB’s
Community Service Program.
(Students for people with disabilities)
USPPiV is a group of student volunteers who assist people
with disabilities. FOB is providing computers and networking
equipment for a USPPiV video game center, which willproduce
over $700 in surplus income for the organization each month.
USPPiV will use the funds to buy equipment for disabled individuals,
such as a voice-activated computer for a
visually impaired person or a wheelchair for the disabled.
FOB is currently working with USPPiV to develop fundraising
activities. In the fall of 2003, FOB and USPPiV successfully
requested $500 from SFOR’s Chaplain’s Fund, which
helped pay for a new hearing aid for a graduating senior at