Firefly supports projects and partners in post-conflict Bosnia.

Support for Youth in Brčko

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 overall suffers from deep and long-standing post-war economic problems that have been threatening the stability of an imperfect peace process.

<<More information about Brčko’s recent history can be found on Svitac’s website here.>>

Svitac aims to counter any trends that can threaten that peace between ethnicities in the region. Together Firefly with Svitac works with young people from all ethnicities in the area in the hopes of making multiethnic tolerence 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, while working in a multi-ethnic and international setting that overall contributes not just to better selves but a wholer society, too.


Gordana Varcakovic

Gordana is the Director of Omladinska organizacija Svitac. From 1999 to 2002 she managed a team of up to 13 employees, coordinated general administration as well as budgets, and motivated and promoted group and individual work. Currently she is managing team of 2 permanent Svitac employees, 5 local and 5...

Sarah Bennet

Sarah joined the Firefly executive in May 2013 shortly after spending a year with our partner Svitac in Bosnia as a Firefly EVS volunteer. She co‐ordinated the volunteers sent by Firefly to Bosnia. Sarah also works as a mental health support worker and is a trainer for VSO , preparing...

Ben Boulton

Ben completed his PhD thesis in the field of post-conflict peacebuilding at the University of Exeter. He volunteered with our Palestinian Project Hope in 2013, where he assisted with various aspects of report-writing (drafting, writing and editing). He currently has various editing commitments (a forthcoming book, various academic journal articles...

Pietro Berti

Pietro joined Firefly as a grant writer in 2015, after completing a traineeship at the Council of the European Union. He holds a PhD in Science Technology and Society from the University of Exeter, and a Master in Economics from the University of Bologna.

Siama Ahmed

Siama joined Firefly International in 2016. She has an academic background in Media and Communications, having studied her BA and Post Grad in London, and has spent more than a decade working on a variety of projects in the UK and the Middle East. Having lived and worked in refugee...