I continued my dialogue with members of IAVE‘s global network, speaking this month with Vahida Huzejrovic, from the organization called OSMIJEH. Vahida is IAVE’s National Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In our discussion, Vahida detailed upon the organization she is involved with, what it means to be a member of IAVE and what are some of the reasons she is so passionate about promoting and developing a culture of volunteering in her community.

“OSMIJEH-GRACANICA was founded in 1996 after the war in BiH to provide psychosocial assistance to people in need and to promote development of voluntary work as a means of self-help and social reconstruction of the country”, Vahida starts by explaining the story of the organization she is involved in. “Since its early founding, OSMIJEH empowers all generations of people to be proactive in rebuilding of their lives and their communities”.

Today OSMIJEH has transformed into an organisation which has an extensive experience in implementing projects and programs (local, national, regional ones), which deal with concrete help and service provisions to different beneficiary groups and groups in need. Further more, it has rich experience in capacity building and activating of human resources among all generations for active participation in the society, as well as for advocating the rights of disadvantaged groups in BiH (such as are children, older people, etc).

Vahida told us that “being a member of IAVE as well as national representative is being member of a big family that gives you support in many ways. To us it means having access to knowledge, expertise, good practices, ideas, developments, and to many other assets in the area of volunteering globally that we can share then nationally. IAVE empowers us, motivates us to sustain in our efforts. It gives us visibility and promotion”.

Speaking to the issue of challenges she faces in her work at the national level as well as being an IAVE National Representative, Vahida mentioned funding as one of the main concern. “But, thank you to IAVE, we have been regularly provided with the support to participate in key events. Acting at the national level in BiH is a challenge due to the administrative arrangement of the country”.

Despite this, Vahida mentioned the ability that non profit organization have to be creative in delivering their services and how they address the needs of everybody without any discrimination as a few aspects which make her passionate about working for a non profit. “When it comes to volunteering, our organisation is passionate about it because we believe in human beings. When involved, when participating, creating, building…people tend to feel responsibility. Human beings tend to mind, to take care of something we do, build ourselves”, Vahida says about the value of volunteering for the local community.

“We would be happy to have some IAVE event organised in our country too. It would bring IAVE more visibility, our organisation too, but would also help members, organisation in BiH to better coordinate their work, to improve their cooperation and united approaches in the area of volunteer work promotion”, Vahida told us about her wishes for the future in terms of her engagement with IAVE and its global network.

If you want to get in touch with Vahida, she can be reached at hvahida @ gmail . com and make sure to visit OSMIJEH website to keep up with their work!

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