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Center for Balkan Development
Tel: 978-461-0909
Fax: 978-461-2552
[email protected]

CBD Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 1, December, 2005
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Bosnian NGO gives children a "Better Tomorrow"

“Better Tomorrow,” featured in this article, has become a new partner in our economic and social development work in Bosnia. We hope you will be as inspired as we are by their commitment to improving the lives of children in Bosnia.

These Bosnian children are among the youth looking forward to the contributions of "Better Tomorrow".  

With the help of a new permanent location and through the dedication of its volunteer staff, “Better Tomorrow,” an organization that provides psychosocial help and informal education to children and youth from age 5 through 18, has had a highly successful year.

Better Tomorrow was established in September 2002 to continue the psychosocial and educational project which started in 1996 in the region of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Binasa Kavazovic, the organization’s director, is assisted by five volunteers, four of whom are former beneficiaries of the centers. The organization involves children and youth in various educational, sport, handcraft and expressive activities, as well as in informal education through play. The group’s goal is to help children and youth become productive members of their local communities and learn about the rights and responsibilities they have towards each other and their community. Better Tomorrow serves approximately 500 children and youth, regardless of their gender, religion and ethnicity, and the membership count is constantly increasing.

Better Tomorrow had been facing the problem of a lack of space to carry out its programs and activities. An agreement with the authorities of Tuzla was reached, which gave the organization permission to use building space that belongs to a local elementary school. The main office of the organization is now located in the local community of Solina and is adjacent to Solina’s elementary school. Better Tomorrow also has two mobile centers, one in the local community of Sicki brod and the other one within the refugee center in the local community of Batva.

Better Tomorrow provides daily activities, workshops and all day excursions to its students in collaboration with and with the support of parents. Daily activities are designed to provide children and youth with a growing and sustainable development of their motor, cognitive, and social abilities. Children and youth are shown respect and taught about children’s rights.

The activities that Better Tomorrow provides for its members and staff include:

  • Computer workshops for youth and parents;
  • English language classes;
  • Age-appropriate workshops in arts and crafts for younger and older children;
  • Drama performances by children and youth;
  • Involving children and youth in building and maintaining a communal flower garden;
  • Carpentry classes for youth;
  • Discussions regarding preservation of local ecology (Eco-hours);
  • Local group excursions and summer vacations for the children;
  • Arts, crafts, and carpentry exhibitions at which children and youth get to present their own work;
  • Monthly birthday celebrations for children and youth;
  • Educational workshops, seminars, and mentorship for the staff.

The organization was also able to offer two one-day excursions and a summer vacation at the sea with children in 2004. The aim of these excursions was for children to learn about the beauty and landmarks of the country in which they live. The week-long summer vacation was for socially endangered children and children without parents.

Support and collaboration to help children
Better Tomorrow has many friends in Bosnia and abroad. The organization collaborates with a number of institutions with similar mission and goals — supporting positive and healthy development among children and youth growing up in post-war, conflict-torn regions. Among the group’s partners and supporters are:

  • Local children- and youth-serving organizations within Bosnia;
  • Elementary schools and colleges in the Tuzla canton, Bosnia:
  • French organization “Refugee Children of the World” (“Enfants Refugies du Monde);
  • SOROS organization;
  • Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University.

Future plans to serve more children, hold conference
With continued support, Better Tomorrow has plans to increase the number of students served, expand the current projects to the entire region of Tuzla canton and increase the number of local volunteers working in its centers. The organization also plans to open more mobile centers and offer workshops in communities in need of organized, developmentally appropriate activities for children and youth.

Another ambitious goal for the organization is to hold the first-ever conference on the role of, and need for, programs that serve children and youth in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. To accomplish this and other goals, the group will continue to forge collaborations with like-minded organizations in the region and abroad.