WHAT IS MOST MIRA?
A registered charity in the UK and Bosnia Herzegovina, we are working to bring together children and young people to learn new skills, make friends across ethnicities, and celebrate diversity in the Prijedor area, northern Bosnia Herzegovina.
We do that through youth arts festivals, theatre workshops, peace building visits and tours and architectural workshops. Our aim is to grow and diversify our range of creative and inclusive activities for youth and establish a permanent hub in Kevljani village near Prijedor.
Our name means ‘Bridge of Peace’.
Most Mira’s approach focuses on addressing three obstacles to maintaining peace in northern Bosnia:
Ethnic segregation of young people
Youth live in ethnically segregated communities and study in segregated schools, which means they have little opportunity to meet and spend time together even though they live a few kilometres away from each other.
Lack of safe spaces for young people
There is a lack of independent social and cultural spaces open for all in Prijedor. The area Most Mira works in is particularly rural and while there has been some development, there is no location for socialising for young people. Without a place to go, it becomes impossible for young people to meet and exercise their creative energy.
Lack of opportunities for young people
There is a serious lack of creative and professional opportunities for young people in Bosnia. Combined with major economic crisis, travel restrictions on Bosnian citizens and reality of unemployment, it is difficult for young people to exercise their right to create a better future for themselves.
Most Mira addresses these issues through our work with three main aims:
Most Mira brings together youth to make friends across ethnicities and celebrate diversity.
Most Mira creates a safe space to bring young people together and spend time with each other.
Most Mira provides creative and professional opportunities for young people in Bosnia.
Most Mira is now building a permanent presence in Northern Bosnia to meet these aims going forward in a sustainable way.
WHAT IS MOST MIRA?
WHAT IS MOST MIRA'S APPROACH?
Seated together in this photograph are school children who became killers and concentration camp guards, and those who became inmates and torture victims. The whereabouts of some of their bodies are still unknown.
Kemal Pervanic, who survived the Omarska and Manjaca camps, and the other trustees of Most Mira, are committed to preventing it happening again. Today's children are the unacknowledged victims of that war, going to segregated schools and returning home to families preoccupied by bitter memories. Yet, they are crucial to creating a peaceful future.
"The international community is allowing Bosnia to descend to the point at which it is so tense that a spark could set it off again... ...If we don't act now, we will be raising the next generation of soldiers."
Refik Hodzic, Director of Communications at the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
TIMELINE OF MOST MIRA ACTIVITIES
Most Mira (Bridge of Peace) was set up in 2008 to build a better, more peaceful future for the young people of Prijedor and the surrounding areas of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In these 3 years Most Mira put on arts festivals for up to 500 children from all ethnic backgrounds from 4 segregated schools through the efforts of up to 120 volunteers which provided a safe and enjoyable way of bringing together young people. The festivals offered the young people a chance to engage with each other, form new friendships, develop sympathy and understanding and become leaders in their communities. The arts activities – music, drama, art, circus skills, dance & photography - helped them to learn new skills.
For the next 4 years, Most Mira worked intensively with school children on drama projects lasting 6 to 9 months culminating in performances not only in the theatre in Prijedor but for the first time in each other’s schools.
In 2013 we added leadership programmes & training in democracy and advocacy skills to bring together young people of Prijedor and international students to discuss the legacy of conflict and local human rights issues through Humanity in Action.
In 2012 we were asked to establish a permanent presence and decided to build a Peace Centre in Kevljani. The proposed design received planning approval in March 2016.
We now need to raise the funds to turn the vision into reality.
Building for the future
Most Mira would not be where it is today without the generous help of many people and organisations. Several hundred volunteers from countries all over the world enabled the workshops and festivals to become reality, many organisations in Bosnia joined our vision from schools to youth groups and now architects in the UK and Bosnia are working together to develop the concept of a Peace Centre in Kevljani.
We are also very grateful to everyone who has funded Most Mira to date - notable donors include: The Halley Stewart Trust, the SDL Foundation, Jefferson School (Georgetown, US), Youth in Action, The Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Foundation, Spencer Hart Charitable Trust, The Swedish Institute, The Funding Network, W.F. Southall Trust, The Tinsley Foundation, Alan & Nesta Charitable Trust, ArcelorMittal Foundation and of course many private donors.