In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Humanity in Action plays a huge role in shaping young students who are hoping to make a difference. Working as the Project Coordinator, Zarja Marković plays a large role in guiding these students and making sure they have the resources they need to succeed in their projects. Zarja’s role allows her to draw on past experience in the hotel industry, however working with Humanity in Action has allowed her to add purpose to her work. For Zarja, “seeing how [the students] are developing ideas, working on [solving problems], and changing their way of thinking,” brings her joy.
Working with Humanity in Action since October, Zarja is looking towards the future. She sees Humanity in Action as a real “necessity in Bosnia”, akin to “schooling”.
The enthusiasm of the director in Bosnia and the impact of the Fellow’s projects is stretching beyond the communities which they are serving. Rather, Zarja explained that media campaigns have been extremely useful for Humanity in Action, allowing them to reach an even broader audience. The efforts of Zarja and her team do not go unnoticed and she informed me that during open calls in search of applicants, more and more students are already familiar with Humanity in Action and its work.
This network spreads wide and is one of Zarja’s favorite aspects of the job. Zarja told me that working with the Humanity in Action community is exactly as it sounds, a family. The Senior Fellows often keep in touch with her and are invited back for mentorship programs, even letting her know how they are progressing on other projects and initiatives they take on. Most important to Zarja is the action she sees from young people. Zarja said that not everyone realizes the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but seeing young people so excited and purposefully bringing change, gives her hope. She wishes that she would have had an opportunity like a Humanity in Action Fellowship when she was younger. Working with students along this journey and helping them realize their ideas and solutions into reality brings joy and purpose to her work.
Zarja is looking forward to taking part in a program unique to the Bosnian branch of Humanity in Action, Encouraging Democratic Values and Active Citizenship Among Youth. This ten-month program targeting first and second-year university students in Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of a nine-day training program, individual research projects, group projects leading to civic campaigns and a debate tournament. Zarja believes that through this program a new generation of young people will fight for democracy and equal rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and hopes that the program inspires others to take steps towards activism!
This text was written by our 2019 spring intern Jacqueline Kolhof who also conducted the interview that informed this piece.