Balkan Summer Camps

Since 1995, we have organised annual summer camps for children affected by the war in Bosnia- Herzegovina and the Balkan region. The camps are concerned with how music and creative arts may offer these children support in their social development and well-being.

The original function of the camps was to complement regular outreach and therapeutic work in Mostar carried out by organisations such as War Child, Educon and the music therapy initiative, Musers. The focus of the work was on the Los Rosales Centre for Children with Special Needs in Mostar, and fundraising, organisation and leadership of the camps was undertaken by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Now the focus has widened to more general issues of special needs in the region. The circle of collaboration has grown to include organisations such as the Youth Theatre, Leptir special needs centre and EMAUS in Srebrenica, and the Centre for Rehabilitation, Pula, Croatia. Collaborators from the world of creative arts include Ulysses Theatre, Istria, and Opera Circus UK and the Universities of Pula and Rijeka. In the summer of 2014, extra camps were organised to accommodate children who were victims of the floods in Eastern Bosnia.

The camps have been located in Obonjan, Brac, Puntizela, Zaostrog, Pula, Rovinj at the M.A.R.E Foundation, Brijuni ,Croatia at Boracko Jezero and Rakovica Bosnia and Sistiana Italy. They are organised with a light touch, with sports and swimming as well as creative music- theatre workshops. The children are cared for and mentored by a team of 20 volunteer animateurs, including creative arts practitioners, and qualified creative arts therapists, educationalists, psychologists and physiotherapists. The camps always conclude with a public performance of the children’s creative work. Normally 40 children are invited per camp. There are usually 2 or 3 camps per summer.

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