Wings of Hope is a small NGO with big ambitions. It was founded in 1994 in response to the war. Everyone suffered during the war but WoH originally focused on the children’s experience, and this is still a central part of the organization today. Children during the war suffered in a variety of ways, the obvious was being subjected to varying levels of violence and hardships i.e seeing death and lack of food but there are others as well. Children were displaced, many lost so many family members they had to go through foster care, poverty was an issue both during and after the war, and education was interrupted for countless children. All these issues left hundreds of thousands of children in need of therapy, financial help, and education. The large amount of children who did not get mental health care after the war has led to a large portion of unstable adults today, the large amount of children living in poverty after the war has led to a large portion of adults that have no finances to rely on today, and the large amount of children who did not make up their lost years of education after the war has led to a large portion of adults who are not qualified for jobs today. Since its founding WoH has been providing free therapy, tutoring, scholarships and countless other services for the children marginalized during and post conflict to combat these issues. As times have changed in the 22 years since the war ended, WoH has expanded to include other marginalized groups in their projects, for example the LBGT community which is subjected to much discrimination in Bosnia.
I personally did not know what to expect from my internship this summer but it has been a very pleasant experience. Our environment is very laid back and from day one I felt like I was surrounded by a little family. Our days involve drinking coffee and discussing everything from politics to relationships between brainstorming sessions on new projects. This summer we have helped research a variety of topics from Bosnian population counts to gay pride parades across the Balkans. We are currently helping to build up sources for a new project that focuses on LGBT rights here in Sarajevo.