The opening event for the War Childhood Museum’s first exhibition in Tuzla was held on June 21 at the Cultural Center Tuzla. The exhibition features stories of children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine, and Kosovo.
By bringing into focus children’s personal belongings from everyday life, and the memories related to them, the exhibition underlines the multifaceted adverse effects of war on children. On occasion of World Refugee Day, additional focus is given to the experiences of internal displacement, being a refugee, and growing up on the move.
Speaking at the opening event were the WCM’s CEO, Jasminko Halilovic, the WCM’s Executive Director Amina Krvavac, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy in BiH, Matteo Evangelista, and the Regional Coordinator of Caritas Italiana, Daniele Bombardi.
Krvavac referred to the devastating statistics indicating that 32 million people worldwide currently live as refugees, with half of them being under the age of 18. “These experiences are unfortunately very familiar to the BiH society, but in order to take resolute steps in addressing the needs of children and youth growing up on the move today, it is necessary to gain a greater understanding of their position,” concluded Krvavac.
Halilovic stated: “In addition to exhibiting the stories of children who currently live as refugees, it feels important to me that tonight we are sharing our stories and experiences, many of whom relate to Tuzla. While working on the “War Childhood” book, and later on creating the Museum collection, I noticed how certain wartime events left a huge mark on people living outside of immediately affected communities. One such example would be the Kapija massacre, the event which is central to the story of one of the objects exhibited here. The WCM wants to be in touch with its audience in Tuzla, and this is perhaps also evident through the great number of cooperations we established with local schools.”
Speaking on behalf of the Embassy of Italy in BiH, Evangelista expressed delight at the Embassy’s successful long-term cooperation with the WCM and Tuzla institutions, as well as at the opportunity for the public to visit this exhibition in the upcoming period. Bombardi emphasized that the WCM’s exhibition is “the main event, and the culmination of the campaign which aims to strengthen the bonds between the local community and people on the move.” He also reminded that, aside from the BRAT project, which is financed by the Italian government, Caritas Italiana and partners have been working on strengthening social cohesion in BiH for many years.
The exhibition will be on view at the “Cultural Center Tuzla” (Dragiše Trifkovića 2) every day from 11:00 to 19:00, until Saturday, July 8. The entrance is free for all visitors.
In addition to the Tuzla exhibition, the War Childhood Museum is realizing several activities as a part of the BRAT (Balkan Route – A Welcoming Transit) project, including a partial rotation of the permanent exhibition in Sarajevo and creative workshops for children and youth in TRC “Lipa” in Bihac. The BRAT project is financed by Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo and implemented by Caritas Italiana, Caritas BiH, IPSIA ACLI, IPSIA BIH, MFS-EMMAUS, Italian Red Cross, and Red Cross BiH.