Speaking the Message of Hope in Bosnia
In the small mountain town of Livno, home to kind and hearty people, the World Hope International Education Resource Center (ERC) offers hope to a region of Bosnia that has been depressed and forgotten.
World Hope International (WHI) has been an engaging presence in Livno since 2003 and continues to live out the vision to empower, encourage and engage Bosnian communities through education.
I was excited to meet Marijana Perkovic. Marijana is a speech therapist who offers speech therapy through the ERC. She specializes in working with children with autism and helping parents learn how to assist their children with home exercises. Thanks to WHI, Marijana has been trained and certified with Talk Tools (Level 2) based in Charleston, SC and is trained in methods from The Hanen Centre based in Toronto, Canada. In addition to serving families in her community, Marijana teaches seminars, mentors other therapist, and provides neuro feedback therapy. I sat down with Marijana to hear more about her story.
T: How is WHI unique in this region of Bosnia?
M: WHI thinks differently and is willing to provide opportunity to make an impact. I first heard about WHI through the book-lending program. I met the Director and began to dream about different types of projects that could serve our community. WHI really saved me as I wasn’t pleased with my life and work here in Livno. Working with WHI has helped me do something that brings opportunity and assistance to my community.
World Hope International thinks differently and is willing to provide opportunity to make an impact.
T: How does your role help impact your community?
M: I offer 2-3 hours a day of speech therapy through WHI. It is important to me that parents join their children for therapy because I teach them how to work with their children at home. I want them to understand why their kids are having speech issues and how they can practice the prescribed therapy at home. Many physicians in our area will tell a parent that they can help fix a problem, but rarely do they include the parents in the solution. Holistic help is not typical in this region and therefore WHI stands out to parents and children. We see consistent results and help the family unit be strengthened through speech therapy. It’s not just about the therapist, but it’s about the whole family and community working together.
T: Tell me more about Talk Tools!
M: When traditional speech therapy isn’t working, we use Talk Tools. This program is especially effective with younger children and specializes in oral-placement therapy techniques. Through feeding therapy, strengthening muscles and helping with sound production, a child’s life can be transformed. People are talking about our work and the news is getting out. People are contacting me from other towns and from cities as far away as Croatia so they can come to WHI and get access to Talk Tools therapy. I am the only certified Talk Tools Level 2 speech therapist in the country of Bosnia. I am thankful that WHI helps to offset the cost for families and makes this therapy more accessible.
T: I am also interested in your certification with The Hanen Centre.
M: The Hanen Centre is based in Toronto, Canada and teaches a natural approach to assist parents who have children with language delays, especially children with autism who often have communication challenges.
This program educates parents on how to use different strategies to facilitate communication skills with their children. This program has been life changing for our families whose children have been challenged with communication issues and autism.
T: What do you see happening in the future?
M: I’m not planning on moving anywhere. We may have lost a large portion of our population because of the attraction of jobs in nearby countries. However, I am working hard and am trying my best to make a difference. This work is a life saver for me as I’m always thinking about how to do more and how I can try a new skill to help my clients.
Through the Education Resource Center (ERC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, World Hope International (WHI) is empowering change by resourcing local educators, professionals, and organizations.
Watch how the team empowered, encouraged, and engaged Bosnian communities through education.