“The experience of traveling, meeting new people, and exchanging opinions have opened new perspectives for me in the future. The self-advocate of Sumer, Amar Pašić, had the opportunity to attend the seven-day training of the Erasmus+ program “Development of Cooperation in Youth Projects” for young activists and youth mobility held in Gaziantep, Turkey, organized by BRAVO (Bosnian Representative Association for Valuable Opportunities). Together with representatives from 10 countries, he familiarized himself with Erasmus+ projects for young people, as well as the possibilities for implementing new ideas through partnerships to improve the position and quality of life of young people. For Amar, this was a completely new experience since it was the first time he flew by plane outside the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He had the opportunity to present his work and that of Sumer, but also to make new friendships through the exchange of knowledge and experiences with other participants.”

This training, as well as the experience of traveling, meeting new people, and exchanging opinions, have opened new perspectives for the future ahead of us. I will definitely use what I have learned for future projects, but also to motivate others to create a better environment for young people, especially for those with disabilities and intellectual difficulties,” emphasized Amar. During his journey, Amar recorded his experiences and decided to convey them directly through the format of a mini-diary.


Flying for the first time
I had no intention of writing publicly about my first flight or the trip to Turkey for my first Erasmus+ project. My friend persuaded me. She said, ‘Come on, write a story from the perspective of a self-advocate. It’s in your style—you’ve finished literature, and it must be good.’  And I wanted to postpone that writing for a couple of days, maybe even without writing at all. Lately, it’s been hard for me to share anything publicly because I don’t think it’s worth mentioning. At least not in the mass of false information, sensations, and crime news that occupy us and slowly destroy us—live apocalypses and who knows what else. But within that, we probably all have someone like that friend of mine who doesn’t give me peace, so the lines you’re reading were written by me, but they are certainly motivated by her, to say the least, persistence.


Encountering Sarajevo Airport for the first time (I haven’t left this city, but I’ve seen a lot of the world, a motto I’ve been carrying for years). After checking my ticket and my adventure in finding the gate for the flight to Istanbul, in a nearby café, I find my companions. I’ll skip the names, because I currently don’t have permission to write them, but they are about two very dear young  people who are now in my heart. Thank you to them; they know who they are! Anyway, we get to know each other and slowly head towards the gate for takeoff to Istanbul. We take our seats. It’s my first time flying on a plane, quite a metropolitan citizen, right? But anyway, I have a slight feeling of my stomach dropping from the G-force and returning to its original position. The flight passes pleasantly in conversation. We land, my stomach rises. The plane parks, and we disembark at Istanbul Airport. Okay, for the most part, you’ve just flown for the first time, Amar—that’s kind of stuck in my head. Istanbul Airport is huge, many people. We’re slow, it took almost an hour to reach the takeoff gate in Gaziantep. We fly again, chat, and land in Gaziantep. We board the minibus to the city center. With the help of Google Maps and higher powers, we find the hotel where we are staying. It’s morning, the call to morning prayer is heard from the nearby mosque.


Unforgettable training and socializing
The three of us mentioned companions came to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina in Turkey, Gaziantep. For me personally, six days of activities were too short to get to know all the people to the end. Our days passed in ingeniously led workshops by Mehmet, for whom this project was the last one in which he would be a facilitator. On the one hand, it seemed sad to me that we were attending his final workshop of this kind for this target group, and yet I was so happy to have met this man for a moment. He gave us a huge experience of what facilitating a workshop should look like in general, and how to write projects for youth exchanges. The conference room where most of the activities took place echoed with the super vibes of both Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Spain, Italy, Romania, North Macedonia, and Hungary. Although I thought I would never have to leave that phenomenal feeling, April 22 came too quickly, and we had to say goodbye to the other participants and the organizers.


The three of us from Bosnia and Herzegovina had to return, as we came, with a couple of suitcases, some of our memories that we carry from our birthplace. If nothing else, we got a couple of new memories that don’t weigh much at the check-in when crossing the border, but are already slowly leaving their mark. As time passes and impressions settle, I believe those notes of melancholy will always have a place in my heart. The melancholy I’m talking about is nothing but a sincere, happy melancholy, almost like an addiction to the experience I’ve lived, but without the admixture of any sadness—except for the one if I no longer fly from an airport, to some new people and some new memories. This is the first time I acknowledge that it was better to step out of my own logic for a second and in my case, “I never left this city, but I have seen a lot of the world,” and allow myself to leave my birthplace again. Maybe, again, on another first flight. We would like to thank BRAVO (Bosnian Representative Association for Valuable Opportunities) for the opportunity to participate, as well as all the donors who support the Sumero program “Life in the Local Community,” including USAID with its USAID Inspire Human Rights Support Program.” Amar Pašić

Reflecting on my participation in the Training Course “Development of Youth Projects for Inclusion” in Gaziantep, Turkiye, from April 15 to 22, 2024, I am grateful for the enriching experience it provided. Facilitated by the “Bridge of Culture Training and Youth Association” and supported by the Erasmus+ program, this initiative brought together youth workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkiye, Italy, Spain, and Hungary. The diversity among participants added depth to our discussions and underscored the importance of intercultural dialogue in youth work.


Throughout the program, the agenda comprised workshops and practical exercises, offering valuable insights into non-formal education methodologies and project planning. Interactions with fellow participants fostered a collaborative learning environment, allowing for the exchange of ideas and experiences.


The accommodation provided in a central location ensured our comfort throughout the program, while the charming city of Gaziantep offered a captivating backdrop for our activities. Known for it’s rich historical heritage and vibrant cultural and gastronomical scene, Gaziantep provided many opportunities for exploration and cultural immersion.


Overall, this experience has equipped me with new skills and perspectives that I look forward to applying in my work with young people. My sincere thanks to the organizers, facilitators, and fellow participants for a memorable and educational experience.” Amina Trle

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