College education for 10 talented students in BiH

by Bosana Foundation
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
College education for 10 talented students in BiH
Visiting our student at her part time job
Visiting our student at her part time job

                                                                 BOSANA FOUNDATION

                                         Scholarship and Personal Development Program  

                                                                   Quarterly Report

                                                             October - December 2013

Executive Summary:

In the previous quarter, Bosana Foundation had accepted eleven (11) additional scholarship recipients that in this quarter we focused on assimilating to our programs, with our previous students and evaluating their readiness to succeed in the school year, as well as determining what we need to do to on individual basis to help these new students. Since our numbers are growing, and now we have thirty one (31) students, it has become even more evident that the focus of this quarter and the following year, will have to be geared towards implementing a more vigilant and systematic monitoring and evaluation of individual students, especially new students that are still trying to get used to their new obligations.  Several new scholarship recipients already were volunteers and they had no problem continuing with their volunteer obligations, while few of them still needed some time to find the organization and to adjust their school schedules to this duty. In all, since the school year started at the end of October and students do not start their exams until January, there is not much to report on student’s academic status.  However, we do have some interesting news about new fundraisers and students’ initiatives.

Students and Program Update:

New academic year brings new obligations and additional tasks for our students because they start new classes and with that also fitting in their volunteer obligations. When it comes to academic success, this has been a fairly calm quarter because they do not start exams until mid January. Therefore, most of our students focused on attending their classes, volunteering, some even decided to use these couple of months to put in some extra volunteer hours so they have more time for studying once the exam begin.  Some also requested to access the funds available for each student as part of their professional development to either sign up for language classes, attend seminars or purchase laptops because they determined that it was necessary to assure success in the coming school year. 

Here are some of the highlights of this quarter:

  • One of our donors in Sarajevo, BIH has given one of our students an apartment for use without a charge.  This is a student that receives our partial scholarship (her housing is not covered); however, her situation worsened and instead of having to pay for her housing, we found a generous donor willing to give her an apartment for use.  In exchange, she helps our donor’s ailing mother with brining groceries and medicine. 
  • We have mentioned that Nadja Kasumovic was a recipient of the Student of the Year Award for year 2013. Nadja received monetary award and she used this award to buy herself a laptop, which should make her studying and writing academic papers much easier.   
  • We found one of our students a part time job during the holidays where she will be able to earn an income and ease the following few months.  
  • One of our graduating students at the Art Academy also started a paid internship at a company where he was the head designer for one of the bags specifically manufactured for the Volkswagen.  They are currently in production and will be available for sale in the first quarter of 2014.   
  • In December, one of our own students, Edin Serifovic, has shown an initiative and with his college friends created a project for first “Street Workout- park” in Tuzla and in the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The goal of this project is to change the bad habits that are so common among young people today, to help them start working out, spending time outside, prevent unhealthy life habits and diseases that inevitably will follow. This project already received partial funds from the local foundation, students are looking for additional sponsors and they are hoping to complete this project by March of 2014.

Program Fundraising & Financial Updates

In October, a fundraising event held at the Gymnasium Apeldoorn in Holland, was completed. This event was organized by a high school student originally from BiH.  Sehida Begovic was the girl that started this, and the goal was to use the 100th birthday of her school for fundraising, and all the proceeds were dedicated to the Bosana Foundation.  The school managed to raise 6,628.00 in one day. They have sold food, jewelry, entertainment, etc. This event shows that Bosana is making an impact not only on lives of orphaned and marginalized youth that it severs but on young people all around the world.

 

Program Challenges:

As our number of students grows and our volunteer staff number remains the same, we are noticing a challenge in maintaining as close of a relationship with all of our students as we had in the past.  Their problems are many but fortunately, with many issues we have dealt in the past so we have a protocol to fall back on.  In addition, monitoring all students’ progress remains a challenge and so we need to standardize and simply our monitoring tools to assure that it covers all possible challenges and yet it does not take more of our time. 

The upcoming challenge in the coming quarters will be finding more resources for our professional development program, especially those students who are graduating this year because we want to make sure that we best prepare them for the world after college, including helping them become self-sufficient citizens with a job after college.  

Our best student of 2013 with her new laptop
Our best student of 2013 with her new laptop
Receiving a check at the Gymnasium Apeldoorn
Receiving a check at the Gymnasium Apeldoorn
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Interviews with new potential students
Interviews with new potential students

Executive Summary:

This quarter’s focus was on wrapping up the end of the 2012/13 school year amongst our current scholarship recipients, providing them any additional support, mentoring and reflecting on the successes and failures of the school year to determine how to improve our outcomes. Our priority was also promoting our scholarship program across the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina in all the media, institutions, schools, nonprofit organization, etc to assure that as many great potential candidates heard and applied for our scholarship. We can positively say that the efforts were fruitful because this year we received more application than ever, four times more applications than last year. In total, we have received 116 applications, which made the decision for the Scholarship Selection Committee very difficult because we had decided that financially we were able to only accept five to ten new scholarship recipients.  

Furthermore, to make use of the knowledge we collected during this period, and the experiences of the previous three years, we also decided to hire an independent consultant who would undertake monitoring and evaluation of our program during this quarter to give us recommendations how we can improve the success rate of our students, our oversight and overall effectiveness of the program in reaching our mission. Findings will be available in the next quarter and shared among our donors. 

Students and Program Updates:

First part of this quarter was all about finalizing the school year and making sure that as many of our students passed enough classes to be able to continue on to the next year.  For those that were able to pass all of their classes, the rest of the summer was left for relaxation. Those that had to retake their exams, some were scheduled for August and others for September, which meant that some of our students did not have a summer break at all. Bosana staff was particularly at students’ disposal in the previous quarter and this quarter doing everything that was in our power to help them prepare and succeed during the exam period. This meant closer monitoring, mentoring and offering paid instructions for those students that required additional help. Unfortunately, the results of the exams do not always depend only on students as BiH educational system has always struggled with corruption, nepotism and many times professors would not allow students to pass simply because they are allowed to only pass a certain number of students. For example, one of our students in Tuzla had particularly hard time to prepare for the exams and there was very little that she could do to assure her success because her professors cancelled many classes, there was never a set schedule to know when she would have exams, and so preparing and passing the exams was pure game of chance. The way our scholarship program is set up, those students that do not pass their classes and move on to the next school year are put on probation for the duration of the whole next school year while they retake those classes. They can exercise this rule only one year and if it happens again next year, without any detrimental reasons, the recipients completely lose their scholarship. This year, two of our students unfortunately had to completely lose the scholarship, while five were put on probation until the next academic year. The remaining fourteen (14) of our scholarship recipients are in very solid place and in many instances among the top students at their university. 

We would particularly like to point out that there are three students who passed all of their exams and are going into the next year ready to take on new challenges without the baggage from the previous years. This year, Nadja Kasumovic was selected as our best student and as a result, she received a laptop that will help her continue to be among the best Bosana students. 

As mentioned earlier, we accepted a total of 12 new scholarship recipients. Originally, we wanted to only take five because we wanted to make sure that we can sustain it financially and that we had the resources to give the appropriate support and mentorship that we pride ourselves that we give to all of our students. However, due to so many excellent candidates that we simply were not able to reject, we decided to give more partial scholarship than full scholarship to be able to take more students.  Here is a list of the students selected into the new 2013/14 school year:

Recipients of the full scholarship:

Dino Alimanovic (Tuzla), studying Medicine at the University in Tuzla.

Majda Ferizovic (Tuzla), studying Physical Therapy at the University in Tuzla.

Selma Kurtanovic (Mostar), studying Radiology at the Medical University in Mostar.

Recipients of the partial scholarship:

Adnan Hodzic (Tuzla), studying Preschool education in Tuzla.

Brankica Draskovic (Pale), studying Ekonomics in Sarajevo.

Edis Isic (Maglaj), studying Electrical Engineering in Sarajevo.

Ivana Nikic (Trebinje), studying Medicine in Foca.

Selma Selman (Bihac), studying Art in Banjaluka.

Svjetlana Popovic (Banjaluka), studying Pharmacy in Banjaluka. 

Additionally, once we saw that we will lose permanently two of our scholarship recipients and that some of our students will have their scholarship frozen for the coming year, the Scholarship Selection Committee decided to add three more students from the waiting list. These students are:

Dzenan Mahmutovic (Tuzla), studying Architecture at the University in Sarajevo.

Jasmina Fazlic (Zivinice), studying Turkish Language at the University in Tuzla. 

Mirzet Omerovic (Kladanj), studying Economics at the University of Tuzla. 

Scholarship Program development and noticeable improvements:  

This year, due to the high number of applications, it was decided among out Board Members and staff that we should create a new project: Professional Development Program. This program was offered to seven scholarship candidates that demonstrated exceptional achievements in school and in their community but did not make it on our scholarship recipients list because we determined that they were still able to somehow finance their education without this scholarship. Namely, their situation was not as dire, they had both parents or at least one parent was employed. This program does not offer financial help right now; however, there are still a number of very useful benefits for these very promising and ambitious individuals. Through this program, they are offered to become part of the Bosana Foundation, have access to all resources that our students have: mentors, participate in our events, professional references and networks, internship and job placement assistance, etc. In return, these students will also have to volunteer minimum 10 hours a month and they will have to maintain a very good academic standing throughout their study. We would like to add that all of Bosana Foundation scholarship recipients in their last year are in addition to the scholarship program, also placed into this program to help them better prepare when they finish college. 

First group of students that are going to be part of this new program are:

Anela Zorlak (Gorazde), studying Genetics in Sarajevo

Amir Beharic (Jajce), Criminology in Sarajevo

Faris Mujkic (Sarajevo), Electro technical Engineering in Sarajevo

Amila Bjelopoljak (Kakanj), studying Mechanical Engineering in Sarajevo

Denis Smajic (Bihac), studying Biology and Genetics in Sarajevo

Adela Vukas (Ilijas), studying Electro technical Engineering in Sarajevo

Adijata Vukas (Ilijas), studying Electro technical Engineering in Sarajevo

As mentioned earlier, we have also decided to evaluate the effectiveness of our programs to see how we can improve our management, provide more assistance to students, achieve greater outcomes and see if there are ways that we can directly improve the outcomes of our students’ success rate at the university. An independent evaluator was hired and the results of his research, students’ and their parents’ interviews, looking at the opportunities that the Bosana gave students that changed their lives and looking at the current educational and social situation of BIH and how Bosana helps alleviate these problems will all be included in the report that will be published in the next quarter.

Challenges:

Students’ exam outcomes and moving on to the next school year were our main concerns and challenges this quarter.  September was make- or- break period for many of our students. We were positively surprised by the devotion of some students and their great results in this exam season; however, there were also those that were not able to successfully complete the school year.

Each one of our students has to submit a progress report, plan of action, when they have exams, and in addition we are in constant contact with our students to make sure that they do not have any personal problems that would prevent them from succeeding.  In addition, all of our students know that they have funds for tutoring with subject that they struggle; however, even with these close contacts and efforts, we were not able to secure that all of our students do well in school. For this reason, we have hired the consultant to see how we can change and improve our management to improve our outcomes.    

Finally, the foreseen challenge in the upcoming quarter will be the adjustment to managing our growing new group of students.  The increase in size will bring more work in monitoring area, managing all student needs and requests but most importantly, it also means that we now have more pressure to raise additional funds to support the growing student body. In the next quarter, aside from the monitoring, fundraising will be out major concern. 

students at interview in Mostar
students at interview in Mostar
Interviews in Zenica
Interviews in Zenica
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Winning design of one of our students
Winning design of one of our students

Executive Summary:

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.  

Noticeable Improvements:

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:

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. 

Our student with his new coworkers and job
Our student with his new coworkers and job
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Student gathering in Sarajevo
Student gathering in Sarajevo

Executive Summary:

Finishing with our holiday party in Los Angeles, we have also continued full steam in this quarter as we had to organize our promotional event in March in Sarajevo and simultaneously start planning our annual event coming up in April.  These events have been very important for the success of the scholarship program because it is directly connected.  The amount of money that we are able to raise at these events directly affects how many new students we are able to accept for the following 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.   

As for students, the majority of our students have successfully complete their fall/winter semester.  Our of our twenty one (21) students, there are only about four students that might concern us. For those students that we managed to match a mentor have also shown great progress and benefit.  Mentor not only provide an additional help to our students but they also serve as an additional helping hand to make sure that we do our best to help students succeed.  Where we are not able to provide even closer relationship with each of our students, mentors fill in the void by speaking to our students on regular basis, encouraging them and visiting when possible. 

This March, we had an opportunity for all students to meet and spend the day together in Sarajevo.  Reason for the gathering was our Promotional event with the Sarajevo Film Festival; however, we used the opportunity to do some sightseeing, have lunch together, exchange students' experience and find ways how we can make the scholarship even more effective.  It was so fullfiling to see students really bond, enjoy each others company and really become part of a large family.  These sort of gatherings have proven to be very effective so we hope to have many more.  

Noticeable Improvements:

We have had a number of improvements not only with our students but also with our monitoring and evaluation of the program. Some of the most important ones are:

1) We have modified our scholarship application to include more information about our potential students that would help us better monitor their progress.

2) We have improved our monthly progress and volunteer report that each student fills out monthly so that we have more information about their progress during the semester.

3) This quarter we have also included «Student Progress Card» that each student has to fill out at the beginning of semester to inform us when he/she has exams so that we can provide additional support when necessary.

4) We have also noticed that our older students are helping the new students to get more familiar with the scholarship, they help each other with reports and to pass exams. This was done before but it was not as systemic as it has become evident this year.

CHALLENGES:

Challenges in this semester have been with those students who have not passed all of their exams.  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. However, they can only take 2 classes to the next year.  Some of our students have not passed four classes but that also is not of concern because they can retake it in summer. Cause for concern is if they do not do well in this coming semester and have too many classes to take during summer. Currently, out of our twenty one (21) scholarship recipients, there are only four that we are worried about. To lessen the chance of losing the year, we have already encouraged our students to take tutoring lessons.  

Student gathering in Sarajevo
Student gathering in Sarajevo
Anes, our best student last year, top of his class
Anes, our best student last year, top of his class

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Organization Information

Bosana Foundation

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Senita Slipac
Los Angeles, California United States
$69,000 raised of $100,000 goal
 
585 donations
$31,000 to go
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