International Women’s Day, March 8, is widely celebrated in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as in the entire former Yugoslavia region. This year, MwB’s music coordinator, Almerisa Delic and partner organization, Snaga Zene created a memorable day for hundreds of women survivors in eastern Bosnia.
Since 2013, Snaga Zene and Musicians without Borders have worked together to re-introduce music and dancing into the lives of women who lost their families at the end of the Bosnian war. Many of these women still live in dreary, isolated refugee settlements, either alone or with the remnants of their families, with only the bare necessities of life. Others have returned to their homes in Srebrenica or Potocari, or live in Tuzla where they are welcomed at the Snaga Zene house for therapy and activities.
On March 8th, a group of women who regularly attend music workshops in Tuzla and refugee camps Jezevac and Visca prepared a special program of Bosnian songs for women in Srebrenica as part of a celebration for International Women’s Day.
This event is part of an ongoing program, “From Woman to Woman,” which was implemented in partnership with the organization Snaga Zene in Tuzla. Snaga Zene provides psycho-social and medical assistance to women throughout the Srebrenica region. One of their ongoing activities is a vocal group in which women predominantly sing ‘Sevdah’, Bosnian traditional songs covering a range of life events across the aging process, from birth to adulthood.
On this day, women from Tuzla, refugee camps Jezevac and Visca and the surrounding areas of Srebrenica, Bratunac, and Potocari, offered a joint workshop and short performance to mark the occasion at the cultural center in Srebrenica. The attendees enjoyed a performance of songs, written word, poetry and dance. New acquaintances were made between the women through an opportunity to socialize and share positive experiences and memories with one another.