Sarajevo: Part 5

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”

-John F. Kennedy


            When I found out that I would be going to Bosnia I decided to do some research into some places that might serve as applicable internship placements. During my research I stumbled upon Fondacija Krila Nade, or Wings of Hope.  They are an NGO that, in all honesty, does everything that you could possibly imagine in order to provide support to individuals that suffered during the war.  Some of the support they provide is, but not limited to, programs for children, psychological and psychosocial support, and free legal advice and counseling.  Along with this information, I found a very impressive timeline of successful programs that they had completed in the past.  Needless to say, I was extremely excited when reading about this organization and hoping for the possibility of interning here.

Over the course of meetings with Ann and others, I found out that this was a possible location, and that she had sent students here in the past.  I was overjoyed and extremely excited for this opportunity.  I heard stories of the work and of the director of the organization, Maja. Passionate, strong, dedicated, hilarious, wonderful. All words describing this woman who seemed to be a legend in the GPB community.

Here I am, 4 weeks later, and not only are all of those words true of Maja, but of all of the individuals that work there.  They are so dedicated to providing help and advocating for the people that walk through their doors, as well as individuals of Sarajevo. They understand not only how to help people, but how to connect to people.

Currently, we (myself and 2 other GPB interns) are working on a legal support program that they are piloting.  They are providing support to individuals in need of legal counseling, but do not have the means of paying a lawyer, the court fees, and the other fees included. We are helping to do research into possible funders of the program, as well as drafting the outline of the project proposal.  Normally the idea of this would terrify me, and while some of it still does only because I want to make sure we create this project up to Wings’ standards, I am excited because the past year I have been learning about and working on program evaluation projects.  I feel like I am able to put this knowledge to use… and that feeling is so wonderful. I feel challenged as well as determined.  Outside of the scope of program evaluation, later this week I will be working with the clinical psychologists at Wings, and will be given the opportunity to learn about cases that they have had, and learn how this differs from my westerns concepts and ideas of clinical work. For me, this is such an important part of the work that I hope to do. I am extremely excited to dive into this part of the internship.

Not only do we learn about our professional interests here but, here I have learned more than I ever thought I would about the people of Bosnia. Their beliefs, ideas, their culture.  I have been able to immerse myself into the Bosnian culture through these charismatic individuals.  I feel like I have truly found another home through Maja and the Wings staff. They have been providing me with an internship experience that is developing my professional framework, as well as challenging my beliefs and ideas, and helping me to evolve my sense of self. I have met people that I look up to, and strive to be like.  For me, I can not only say that I have made friends, but friends for a lifetime.




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