In December of this year, Small Steps collaborated with Inter-Religious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina on a project in Bosanski Petrovac.
From April 2016 to March 2019 and in partnership with the Mennonite Central Committee, Mali Koraci will be implementing the project “Encouraging Children to Accept Differences.” Using peace-building methods to decrease divisions between children from different ethnic groups, Mali Koraci trainers will teach tools for dialogue and mutual understanding, referencing faith as a motivation and a source of energy. Then, the children will experience direct contact with those of different ethnic groups, “the Other,” by building friendships, practicing the skills they’ve learned and celebrating their accomplishments together.
The Little School of Interfaith Bridge Building
In twelve different cities with significant interethnic animosity around BiH, religious teachers who have previously participated in Mali Koraci training programs will invite a total of 120 children to participate in a one-day session called “The Little School of Interfaith Bridge Building.” In these sessions, twelve groups of participants, each with ten children from the same ethno-religious group, will learn about the basics of non-violent communication. They will learn about steps they can take when they are in conflict with anyone, from a family member to friend or class mate.
Practical Interfaith Bridge Building
After the “Little Schools of Interfaith Bridge Building,” each group of ten children will be paired with another group of children from a different ethnic community to continue their training in six “Practical Interfaith Bridge Building” sessions. These one-day workshops will provide opportunities for these children to practice what they’ve learned by role-playing in an imaginary conflict, laughing together and building friendships with people from different communities, and discussing nationalistic messages and reasons for war and peace.
Children’s Peace Festival
In December 2018, all 120 children participants will meet together in Sarajevo to do art workshops and celebrate with plenty of music and dancing.
After three years of building friendships across ethnic and religious barriers, these religious teachers and children will be empowered to return to their schools and cities around BiH as ambassadors of change. We as Mali Koraci staff look forward to planning future joint activities together in which we cooperate with a growing movement of religious teachers and students throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina who are working to heal our society.