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SJJ

2015

Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Bryan | Updated: 19th May, 2019




In a selfish world, it would be all too easy to travel just for pleasure with no worries. It does feel great. But it feels better to travel and make a difference.

Last 2015, I had a chance to travel and volunteer a day for the kids of Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was a company-sponsored tour (my reward) with a side trip to do our Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. That's a fancy city tour with great food in Dubrovnik at one part and then a community service crossing borders to Bosnia. Makes my reward trip really worth it and meaningful.

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Just 30 kilometers from the historic city of Dubrovnik in Croatia (now part of EU), the town of Trebinje became part of Bosnia with a tough border dividing the two cities. Firsthand experience, we crossed the Bosnian land borders by bus from Dubrovnik with tight, very strict border checks. It took us almost an hour with a series of inspection from the two border checkpoints — Croatia and Bosnia — until we got dismissed and finally allowed to cross.

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While Croatia has developed into a modern country that is now a member of EU and Dubrovnik which has become one of the most desired destinations in the Mediterranean, Bosnia, on the other hand, became one of the most isolated countries in Europe. The scars of the recent war (1991 — 1995) are still very much alive.

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In a country where the average pay is around 400 Euros with a high unemployment rate, securing the basic level of infrastructure and services is challenging. As simple as it sounds, giving the younger generations the chance to train a sport they are fond of is crucial — it gives hope.

As part of our CSR activity, our special task is focused on helping the children of Trebinje to engage even more with the most popular sport in town — football!

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Football is the favorite sport in the city of 25,000 inhabitants and an important element of socialization and social integration. Last year, a group of dedicated citizens of Trebinje saved the Under-18's Football Club. This is one of the few organized activities in the city for youngsters of ages 8 — 18 to take part in.

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The Under-18's Football Club takes care of over 200 kids every year and has a very important educational role. The club provides hope for the kids to make it in an environment where there are no jobs and where there are huge issues of violence and alcoholism, as well as depression.

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Excited and motivated, our CSR activity supports in providing more favorable condition for the youngest players in the town to facilitate in developing their talents. We fixed some of the basic facilities provided by the club making them more safe and useful.

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We repaired the shelves and benches inside the club's dressing room, painted the exterior and helped rebuild the damaged benches on the playing field. Plus, donations in the form of football equipment, footballs, shirts, and shoes.

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Just seeing the joy in the eyes of these kids was so amazing. Such an eye-opener experience. It has changed my perspectives on social responsibility and intercultural exchange. The culture, hospitality and sheer love from the children of Trebinje will surely stay with me. I would definitely recommend this great experience!

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SJJ

Sarajevo International Airport

Mark

Currency

Zdravo

Hello in Bosnian

Hvala

Thank you in Bosnian



13 Comments

  • Macjen
    Best of your blogs.. I hope to see more of these. keep it up.
  • Bryan
    It's one of my personal favorites, actually. Thanks Macjen
  • Jake Angeles
    nice one! this is actually one of the things I want to do while traveling.
  • Bryan
    makes it worth the trip. I would love to see your volunteering trip as well, Jake!
  • Karla Ramos
    I have been looking for a place to volunteer in. This makes it worth traveling for.
  • Bryan
    I couldn't agree more Karla... I'm looking at volunteering at least every year and I'd really like to do this more often... Let me know if you find a perfect place.
  • Jeypi Kyu
    This is great! I seldom see people doing volunteer work. This is something that is worth to share to other hopefully to inspire us to do the same.. :) Keep it up!
  • Bryan
    Salamat Jeypi. From meeting other volunteers, the amazing locals, the kids and a fascinating country - it was really worth the experience!
  • Steve Grandfil
    Of course my home country is full of surprises and is not the best out there, slow developing because of 3 presidents we have but still the most intriguing fact, and inspiring for most people is the hope for a better tomorrow!
  • Bryan
    Being with those kids, I've seen a brighter future for them. The people of Bosnia are one of the nicest, too. I don't see any reason why the country will not rise again amidst all the challenges today.
  • Melissa Un
    This sounds fun and fulfilling. Hmmm how do I volunteer too? :)
  • Bryan
    Thanks Melissa... Indeed! Especially being with the kids, it was a one of a kind experience. I'm looking at volunteering again next year, usually my company would inform us but I'm also checking out online... Wanna join? ;)
  • Lester Pioquinto
    Wow. I've always wanted to travel and do some social work. Glad some people are making an effort to help others :)
  • Bryan
    I've always wanted to do it while travelling. It gives that extra feeling of fulfillment. I'd be very glad to hear your volunteering experience, too Lester
  • Tami Winbush
    I can't imagine how rewarding that would have been to be there among that bunch of children. It's such a great thing to give people hope. When I was a "tween" I went to the mountains of Kentucky and helped to rebuild houses. It was such a pleasure to see the sparkle of hope and gratitude in the resident's faces. I felt like Superman. You are Superman too! Thanks for being a part of making the world a better place.
  • Bryan
    Wow, that's great! Thanks for sharing your experience, Tami. It's a truly remarkable experience.
  • Paul Grant
    This is indeed a touching backpacking travel experience Bryan or in your words (Un-backpacking trip), though I haven’t had a chance to show a social responsibility but I would surely look for an opportunity to do so, within my community. I truly would like to know how it feels to go out of ones way to help people.
  • Bryan
    It's really nice to see fellow travelers who are also ready to do volunteering activities. I hope through this simple blog, I can encourage more of us to do such a kind act. Thanks, Paul!
  • Kerryann
    I would love to be part of volunteering team visiting and touching lives of young children. Doing good is the rent we pay for living in this earth
  • Bryan
    I always have a soft spot for kids... It's an amazing experience to volunteer. I highly recommend it...
  • Dawn Shaylah
    I must really commend you guys for having such a kid heart, and taking your time to make the world a better place. I never knew this much about Bosnia, to think of the troubles this young lad would be experiencing is really heart breaking I sure hope something would be done to improve their situation.
  • Bryan
    It was all worth it... The kids are really great and full of life and energy. I think this small act of gesture from anyone makes a really big difference in shaping the larger part of their future. Thanks for dropping by, Dawn.
  • Abhishek yadav
    #BOSNIA
  • Christopher Goldsmith
    Thanks a lot to you Bryan for sharing your amazing experience which helps me a lot for my travelling. Next I will go Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Bryan
    Keep traveling, Chris. And don't forget to give back and do some volunteering!

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Bryan

About Bryan

Hi, I'm Bryan — a Filipino traveler, fan of The Big Bang Theory and good food. The silent sam on the couch. An Apple buff. I was born in the Philippines and now a resident of Barcelona, Spain. Most of the time, traveling solo. Advocate for cheap escapades. Backpacker. Yep, Filipinos do backpacking!
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