This quarter the focus of the program was to best prepare our students for the end of the year exams. President currently living in BiH made a number of visits to all the students where we were concerned about their success. Mentors were also contacted so we can work closely with them to provide additional support to those students that needed it. In this quarter, we also had our Annual Event in April that was very successful. As a result, we will be able to grant at least five new scholarships in the upcoming school year.
Students and Program Update:
Most importantly, the program has been strengthened as far as reporting and monitoring & evaluation. We have had also a number of significant donors contribute towards the program, not only financially but also providing their resources as mentors and advisors to the program.
We have also gained a number of new donors as a result of our Annual Event. Many have offered to be our new mentors and also independently raise funds for the program. Two of the donors have also offered to host our students in their respective countries in Europe over the summer and we are exploring this option to make sure its safe and educational experience.
Overall, we are very pleased with the results of our students while there are few that we will have to continue to watch closely as they finalize their school year in July. For those that do not succeed, they will have to study and retake their exams in September.
We are very excited however for the new applications that will start coming in on July 1st and for the students that become part of our family during the next quarter.
We continue to improve not only our M&E of the current students but also of our reporting to make sure it includes all necessary information. Most noticeable developments this quarter:
1) One of Bosana’s scholarship recipients, a student of product design at the University in Sarajevo, has won the International AUTO 2013 Challenge held in Zagreb, Croatia on April 5, 2013. There were 55 participants, where the second place went to a German contestant while the third went to participant from New Zealand. Sajdin’s prize is a Tablet but even more impressively, the Croatian car company will build a prototype car based on Sajdin's winning interior design.
2) We purchased a mountain bike for one of our students who does seasonal work over the summer collecting berries. He approached us with the idea because last summer he had to go by foot and with the bike he will be faster and more efficient. Each scholarship recipient has a “Professional Development Fund” allocated for these types of creative ideas so we were happy to support this student’s incentive.
3) We have secured part time employment for one of our students through our close collaboration with the Sarajevo Film Festival. Our student was offered an opportunity to work on a movie set; however, the employer was so pleased with our student’s performance that he now calls him on regular basis.
4) We have also secured a paid summer internship for one of our students in Sarajevo and we are waiting for one more in Bihac. They will work full time with very successful marketing and programming companies able to earn additional income and experience.
5) This year, we will have two of our students graduate with B.A. degrees; however, they will continue on their studies to obtain Master Degrees. Bosana will continue to fund their education as we have determined that it would be in their best interest personally and professionally.
6) We have worked tirelessly to improve our scholarship application as we prepare at the end of this quarter to open our 4th scholarship selection. We have also created an independence selection committee to make sure that the selection process is fair, well informed and experienced in the process.
Challenges in this quarter have been with those students who have not passed all of their exams in the winter semester. The educational system the way it is set up in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is normal that student have to retake their exams, sometimes more than twice, while they are able to move to the next semester and year. As it stands, we are concerned for five of our students; however, we are closely watching their progress, we have offered tutoring for some of them where the classes allow and we will continue to work closely with them until September when they are able to retake the classes that they did not pass.
Another challenge continuously present is the reality of BiH educational system that’s very corrupt, full of nepotism and bribery that our students face on daily basis.
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