10-years after (Bosnia Herzegovina)
In the spring 2017 a school class from Helsingør Gymnasium in Denmark visited the gymnasium in the Bosnian town of Maglaj and met with 40 peers from the towns of Maglaj, Zepce and Doboj. From the Bosnian side we had gathered students of different backgrounds (Bosniaks, Bosnian-Croats and Bosnian-Serbs) and all of them attended together the Open Fun Football Schools 10-years ago.
At the end of the two-day visit the Danish students interviewed their Bosnian peers and asked them how they remembered the Open Fun Football Schools.
Below are some very powerful and authentic quotes from these interviews:
The power of friendship (Serb student, Doboj)
“We learned that you cannot win a football match by yourself. You have to cooperate, and Croatians, Bosniaks and Serbs were coerced to be a team”.
The power of changing hearts (Female student, Maglaj)
“My parents were not happy about the thought of me playing football with children of other minorities. At first, they would not let me play. After the war, my parents have been very much aware of what minority we belong to, but after I attended the football school, they have had a change of hearts. Now most parents are trying to have fun together, in spite of ethnicity, and that makes me very happy”.
The power of learning (Bosniak student, Maglaj)
“The football schools have been a wake-up call. We realized that the Serbs are also human beings and not the monsters they have been made out to be. We have learned about their traditions, which turned out to be not that different from our own”.
The power of sports )Bosniak and Croat students, Maglaj and Zepce)
“Sport is fun and many people love it. Culture and ethnicity is no limit in sports. It is like a common language that everyone speaks”
“Football is a bridge between Serbs and Bosniaks. If it had not been for football, I would never have contacted the Serbs. Through football, we have gained a better understanding of each other”.
The power of community (18-year old girl, Maglaj)
“The football schools have affected my life by making me more open to meeting new people. I love being part of a community and I love the concept of everyone being friends”.
The power of children (Croat student, Zepce)
“I’ve realized that children are innocent and just want to play together”