SARAJEVO – Inter Campus Bosnia works in Sarajevo and Domanovici, near Mostar, where the aim is chiefly to promote social integration. The buildings in Sarejevo still bear the scars of war almost two decades after it ended, the peppered walls a constant reminder of the snipers who once lined the surrounding hills. Peace reigns today but degradation and poverty remain very real problems which our local partner, Sprofondo Bezdan, encounters on a daily basis.
Here in the capital, together with two local trainers Ahmed and Jasmin, Inter Campus uses football to restore an element of serenity and joy to orphans and other kids in social care. Sprofondo Bezdan is run by a strong woman called Hirja, who takes her daily inspiration from the children’s happiness. She is assisted by Sinisa, a lad with a permanent smile who acts as a go-between for the association and local institutions, ensuring the right to play to the less fortunate. We have been working here for a number of years now and have seen the results in the youngsters who take part. The children interact with each other differently: they used to fight over nothing whereas now they work to achieve things together. Their attention levels are higher during activities run by the trainers too.
In Domanovici we work with Zorica, a woman who devotes her time to raising children in her village and promoting sports activities. The main aim of the work we have carried out so far is to integrate Croats and Serbs, Muslims and Christians, who are separated socially as well as culturally. Children of the same age at the same school are split into different ethnicities and study different subjects and languages on different floors. We try to lessen this divide through the universal language of football with the aid of Drajan and Hirch, two local coaches. The positive message is spreading not only in Domanovici but also in the surrounding villages, because the kids who take part in the Inter Campus activities return to many different areas after coming together to learn and have fun together on the pitch. There’s one child in particular who comes to mind because he has lost both his parents and now lives with his grandparents. Football and his coaches offer him a source of inspiration in life. His companions of different ethnic groups and religions may become friends for life.