After nearly two decades Firefly continues to provide core financial and other support for its foundational partner — Svitac in Brčko, Bosnia and Herzegovina — established by our late founder Ellie Maxwell.

In March 1999, the district was awarded special multi-ethnic status as the “Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, and given the freedom to operate on a self-governing basis, making Brčko the only officially recognized “multi-ethnic” state in Bosnia. This followed a brutal civil war characterised by inter-ethnic fighting of the worst brutalities, and crimes against humanity. Because of this special status, Brčko has had the opportunity to act as a model for a successful, multi-ethnic Bosnia.

However, though the economic infrastructure and political situation in Brčko has been slowly improving for years, the pace has at times been excruciatingly slow and there is still a long way to go, and much work to be done between the different communities before any kind of multi-ethnic society can develop. This is because Bosnia and Herzegovina suffers from deep and long-standing post-war economic problems that have been threatening the stability of an imperfect peace process. Click here for more information about Brčko’s recent history.

Svitac aims to counter any trends that can threaten that peace between ethnicities in the region. Svitac works with young people from all ethnicities in the area in the hope of making multi-ethnic tolerance and togetherness a reality. We do this from the ground-level by working with young people, helping them to achieve their personal potential through education, creative arts and training programmes. Bringing the young people together from all the local nationalities with international volunteers helps to broaden their world view and contributes not just to better selves but a more united society, too.

Please read case studies on Svitac participants here.