- Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 23:39
- Written by Shabana Basheer
Monday 18 June 2012: 16 young Muslims yesterday embarked on "The Journey", a month-long volunteer programme to Bosnia & Herzegovina organized by London based charity MADE in Europe. The volunteers, aged between18-30 years old, are travelling to the region to live and work with families around Srebenica. The programme aims to revive the concept of a journey as an act of learning and enrichment, while providing volunteers with valuable experience of life in a region that is recovering from brutal conflict.
Srebenica was the site of Europe's worst genocide since World War II. Whole families were ethnically cleansed from the area and over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered by Serbian forces.
On arrival in Bosnia, volunteers will live and work with survivors of the genocide for one month and will help set up agricultural projects, including strawberry farms, which they have been fundraising for here in the UK. These projects will provide a sustainable source of income for several Bosnian families.
The volunteers will also participate in the annual 3 day Peace March, or Marš Mira. The march re-enacts the route that the Bosnians took to flee the Serbian army. Volunteers will join thousands of other people and walk 110 kilometres to reach the Srebenica Genocide Memorial in Potočari on 10 July 2012. There they will participate in a funeral prayer and burial for newly identified victims of the Srebrenica genocide.
Saif Ahmad, CEO of MADE in Europe, said: "Many of our volunteers were just children during the Bosnian War. This is a chance for them to learn about the conflict and to connect with and support their European brothers and sisters in Bosnia, while at the same time gaining new skills as they help to set up sustainable agricultural projects with their Bosnian families."
On their return from Bosnia, volunteers will run events with their local mosques and communities in order to share their experiences and learning.
Bosnia: The Journey is an annual month-long volunteering programme organised by MADE in Europe in partnership with Bosnian partner organisation Prosvjetitelj-Muallim.Last year young volunteers visited Bosnia and learned about the siege of Sarajevo.
In 2012, 20 other MADE in Europe volunteers will be joining the month programme volunteers in Bosnia for one week in order to join the Peace March.
MADE in Europe is a UK registered charity which works to mobilise young Muslim to take action on issues of global poverty and injustice through campaigning, education and overseas volunteering. For more information, please visit their web site at: www.madeineurope.org.uk
The annual Peace March (Mars Mira) is a protest event to remind the world of the crimes committed by the Serbian Army and police force in July 1995, during the Bosnian War. Every year, newly identified victims are symbolically buried and a funeral prayer is said for them.