“Youth for Peace” project in Bosnia and Herzegovina delivers hope and spiritual resilience during COVID-19.

We wanted to share additional information on this excellent humanitarian project, which we’ve partnered with RfP International for.

As the coronavirus pandemic transforms routines for those of faith, including prayer and worship, Youth for Peace (YfP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina launches a multi-religious project intended to bring hope to communities combatting the atrocious effects of the virus. The project consists of a series of video conversations with diverse religious representatives, discussing how they nurtured their spiritual lives as COVID-19 reshaped their realities. These conversations have reached more than 6,000 people, delivering testimonies of religious communities and leaders, via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YfP’s website, encouraging listeners to reflect on the shared nature of the pandemic. Thus far, Youth for Peace has released 10 of videos on these platforms, with several more to come.

To watch the videos from YfP, visit their Instagram page:

The project itself provided a platform for women and youth of faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to reach wide and diverse audiences. Through interviews with several faith communities, YfP shared their stories and efforts to remain spiritually connected to their constituents. As women and youth struggle with the pandemic, such efforts document their voices and lived experiences, as they build their resilience. “I was very grateful to speak to a diverse group of people and hear their stories. I think this project gave me the boost to keep going, to keep working,” says Emina Frljak, the Educational Programs Coordinator of Youth for Peace.

Building on multi-religious narratives, the testimonies of 25 religious leaders and representatives—including Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i, and Orthodox Christian—provided their constituencies with a shared means to overcome the crippling uncertainty of the pandemic through a virtual communal dialogue. “The accounts of [religious leaders] responding to new challenges and preparing their communities for the ‘new and different’ way of nurturing religious life and respecting the changed conditions, while simultaneously keeping communities united, showed how creative, responsible, and adaptable religious leaders have been,” says Emina. But this discourse did not only bring religious leaders and communities across faith traditions closer in spirit—it also presented tangible opportunities for future multi-religious collaboration between these communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As religious leaders and communities seek to adjust (and even modify) traditional approaches to prayer and congregation, Youth for Peace is responding to the hunger for spiritual sustenance and community, with the intention to nurture the spirit and soul. People across the world may have been confined to their homes, but the testimonies of women, young people, and religious leaders, highlights some hope, which is inspirational to all.

We’ll have more stories to come on these different projects that are responding to Covid-19 around Europe, funded by ECRL and RfP.