Within the program "Let's get to know our students," we have prepared an interview with Fatima Kovacevic, 4th year student at the English Language and Literature department, who is very successful in her studies, but at the same time participates in many projects and organizations as a volunteer.
Please tell us more about yourself.
My name is Fatima Kovačević and I am a 4th year student of English Language and Literature at International Burch University. People mostly describe me as a responsible, persistent but sometimes stubborn person. Everyone who knows me, know that I work to the last atom of my strength, in order to do something constructive for the community, for society, for me, my and other generations, and of course not expecting to be paid for that. I am very sociable and interested in learning and experiencing new things.
Beside university obligations, my second passion is volunteering in different organizations. I have been volunteering for more than ten years, which means that I started when I was 12, studying in the primary school. I am always saying that love and interest for volunteering is mostly innate, and that all volunteers have almost the same feeling and need to do something positive, worth, and useful for themselves and their environment, no matter what it is. Unfortunately, a lot of people is not aware about the significance of volunteering and its benefits in non-formal education.
That's the most common question that I have been exposed to, actually not only me, but millions of other volunteers all around the world. Another question is 'are you paid for that and how much', and when I answer 'no' their reaction is 'you are wasting your time, go get a real job and so on'. Benefits that we can get from volunteering are numerous and very valuable. Volunteering is the first step to using our time usefully and constructively, which will lead us to successful employment.
What do volunteers do?
There are different activities that volunteers can do, depending on the project or the organization they are volunteering for. Humanitarian activities such as helping socially vulnerable categories, doing positive and creative things that are important for our environment and society, contributing to our educational and sociable knowledge, and experiences are some of the activities volunteers are doing. It is an opportunity for personal growth and development, strengthening of existing and acquiring new competencies, as well as expanding number of colleagues and broadening our horizons.
How Do I Find the Right Organization to Volunteer With?
Depending on your habits, interests, personal characteristics, and things you like or do not like you can easily find the right organization to volunteer for. Organizations in which I volunteer are mostly related to humanitarian work, work with children, ecological projects as well as educational conferences and seminars.
What organization do you volunteer for? Please describe your experience?
I am volunteering in Red Cross of Ilidža, project 'Older brother/Older sister' and Let's do it. Beside that, I am the president of the Students Association of the Faculty of Education (SAFE) and representative in the Student Parliament at the International Burch university. I am a proud volunteer of the biggest humanitarian organization recognized all over the world that protects human life and health, ensures respect for all human beings, and prevents and alleviates human suffering. Older Brother/Older Sister is a mentoring project that connects a volunteer in the role of older brother/older sister and a child as a younger brother/younger sister. This goal is achieved in two ways: volunteer work with the child and experts work with a volunteer. Me and other volunteers are being trained to work with children and to organize and spend a quality time with them. Volunteers progress is being monitored and supported by the associates, social workers, pedagogues, and psychologists. I have been the older sister of one beautiful girl for three years, and there are no words to describe how connected we are. “Let’s Do It” in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a part of a global “Let’s Do It World” movement, which was organized in 113 municipalities in our country. There are „Let's Do It- clean up the country in 1 day” and “Let’s Do It- million seedlings in 1 day.'' This project began in 2012 and by now it have had 168 994 volunteers in its actions of cleaning illegal landfills and planting trees, who cleaned around 13 000 tons of waste, and planted 362 077 of seedlings of different trees. I joined the project in 2014 as a volunteer and coordinator.
What Makes a Successful Volunteer?
Responsibility, sense for help and empathy, commitment to work without being paid for it, but rather feeling pleasure for doing positive things.
Some of the benefits for the volunteer are the development of self-esteem, understanding of social problems and compassion with others, learning social skills, new acquaintances with various social groups, and the most significant- satisfaction that comes from helping others and sense of usefulness and belonging, as well as the first professional experience.