Inter Campus, in Bosnia and Herzegovina

MILAN – The Inter Campus delegation made a stop in Sarajevo to initiate a new
centre. Organisational manager Christian Valerio and two coaches Juri Monzani
and Silvio Guareschi spent the first three days in the Bosnian capital with the
new partner association "Sprofondo-Bezdan", a humanitarian NGO that
operates in the multicultural student centre headquartered in the Grbavica
neighbourhood.

The organisation is involved in many activities, including helping the elderly,
the protection of children’s rights, collaboration with two local orphanages
and a centre that takes in street children. Activities began on the cement pitch
(made available by the Franciscan Friars) adjacent to the student centre along
with two local instructors, Alen and Jasmin, and 80 children: 25 from
orphanages and 55 from the lower class neighbourhood in which the centre is
located. Children of any type of ethnicity or religion freely play together,
just as children who come from stable households play with those from
orphanages. From now on, the colours of their shirts will always be the same:
blue and black.

After the experience in Sarajevo the delegation headed southwest towards the
Croatian border. They descended from 600 metres above sea level to the
extension of the Balkan mountains and as they approached the coast the climate
became milder. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the social situation
since, away from the capital, cultural barriers that divide the various ethnic
groups become increasingly obvious.

They crossed through Mostar, a city that was disputed during the war and one
that is still divided today between the Muslim population east of the Neretva
river and the Catholic population to the west. The more they headed towards the
Croatian border the more the red and white chequered flags outnumbered the
yellow and blue Bosnian ones, and Catholic Croatian villages became more numerous
than their Muslim Bosnian counterparts.

Finally came the arrival in Domanovici, a small town of 2,000 inhabitants (55%
Bosnian Muslim, 35% Croat Catholic, 10% Serbian Orthodox) with only one state
elementary and middle school. It was no surprise to find the building in an obvious state of decay, but what really struck the group was what took place
inside it. This is one of the few schools on Bosnian territory with a clear
separation between Muslims and Catholics. The ground floor is for former while
the one above is designated for the latter, with two principals representing the
different faiths; two schools in one.

Here Inter Campus activated a centre with the objective of creating a
‘laboratory’ of ethnic integration. Children have no problems playing with
others of a different religious faith. Often it is the adults who prevent them
from participating in communal projects.

In order to get to Domanovici, Inter Campus relied upon the "Fabio Vita
nel mondo" association which, in these nearly forgotten places, organises
humanitarian convoys several times a year loaded with goods for refugees,
orphans and impoverished families who live throughout Bosnia. Furthermore, the
association maintains continuous activity in the area through a series of
projects with a focus on health, children and families.

Thanks to Zorica, the association’s liaison and now our on-site representative,
we found Drajan, a coach willing to train children of different ethnic groups.
As well as satisfying the coaching requirements, Drajan also possesses the
human characteristics necessary to be an Inter Campus instructor. Approximately
40 children participated in the sporting activities. Parents of children, both
Catholic and Muslim, now entrust their children to Drajan for training on the
pitch with children who have different faiths than their own, yet who share the
same passion for the Nerazzurri.

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