Amar Kundalić – Zenica: He loves passing on know-how and introducing young people to the first steps in activism
I heard about him from ASU BiH members in Gradačac, Brčko and Modriča. They told me that he was a president of the Association that will be remembered for the work he did during his mandate. I was sorry that I had to go to other towns to hear such beautiful things about someone from that town, so that I looked for him immediately after returning to Zenica.
Amar Kundalić is only 20 years old, and he is already a real representative of what I call a ”product of the Association of Secondary School Students in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. These young men and girls are full of self-confidence and knowledge, and they know exactly where they are going. They stand out in a multitude and I believe that there is currently no better reference for the work of ASU BiH than meeting these young people. Every one of them gave me faith in a better tomorrow, the one they will create, and I already thank them for it.
Amar is studying at the Faculty of Economics, major in Corporate Management, because he sees himself as a manager who will manage a company or lead a movement to create a better society.
I am currently a member of the steering committee the Association of Secondary School Students of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where I have been actively involved over the past five years. My mandate ends soon, because some new secondary school students are coming to take over the organisation. Last year, I was also the president of the organisation, I was in charge of everything at the state level, which completely changed my life. I learned how an organisation actually functions, what life in small local communities looks like, I learned to implement projects, I got knowledge, friendships and everything I needed.
My efforts and engagement also resulted in the fact that I became an ambassador of activism at the foundation Schüler Helfen Leben, which I am currently still doing. I am somehow trying to adapt that to young people who are at the beginning of their activism and have to take their first steps. As an activism ambassador, I will try to be their support, because I was recognised by my colleagues as a person that deserves to be an ambassador as a result of my efforts and engagement, and I believe that I have to use it in the best possible way, to support someone.
What are you most proud of when it comes to this period of the last five years?
When I take a look at the projects and everything I have done, there is always the moment when one gets the most and learns the most. But I believe that my greatest pride relates to the whole year when I was the president of the organisation, because I was someone who was coordinating the organisation, projects, leading trainings and seminars. And this is where I mostly see myself, as someone who will transfer knowledge and someone who will help young people make their first steps. I acquired knowledge that will mean a lot in my life. I could humbly say that it meant more than the overall knowledge from secondary school.
But then again, if we focus on a single project that makes me most proud of, it would be the Social Day – a project that consists of a day on which secondary school students do not go to school, but rather exchange their school benches for a workplace. Last year, the Association of Secondary School Students organised the first Social Day, where I and my team managed to ensure that 545 secondary school students get their first working experience. A fund was established after that, because a minimum daily allowance of 20 KM was paid for every student, so that the funds were used to finance 13 projects in 13 different local communities. And, to be honest, I was glad to see that these were mostly small local communities. I think that the only bigger city was Sarajevo, so that we invested as much as possible in the local communities, in order to strengthen young people in these areas and give them financial and mentoring support in order to make a change.
What is the importance of this project?
The financial situation is such in our country that there is an enormous youth unemployment rate, and we ensure 545 jobs at least for a day. Many companies stated their interest in participating in the overall project, but there was the sentence ”We really have no funds”. I understand such a situation, because it is not easy to allocate money today for an NGO and secondary school students. But I have also demonstrated to myself and everyone else that something can be done, that we can achieve great changes at the state level. Through ASU BiH, we were able to amend laws in Sarajevo Canton, in order to be able to apply at a faculty with certified copies, instead of having to submit the originals; we helped secondary school students from Jajce to end segregation, we organised protests. I have experience related to part of activism activities, and I believe that it is a great basis for life, my society and my development, both professionally and for my private life.
The issue of young people leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina – you are most certainly staying here?
Well, yes. I somehow said to myself – I will either succeed or fail in Bosnia, so I am certainly not leaving Bosnia. It is somehow devastating to see the growing trend of persons going to Austria, Germany, etc., to see that young people lack enthusiasm and wish to change something. But I do expect that the ones staying in Bosnia and Herzegovina will achieve changes, because we can change a law, we can prevent segregation, we can achieve much greater changes. Now, there is this generation that makes small changes, and I believe that in a few years, they will do much more.
What I do consider positive is the fact that many young people leave in order to study, and why should we not use the excellent knowledge they get at other faculties in European and other countries of the world, once they come back. That should be implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because our young people that go to other countries are really smart and they achieve great success. I think that Bosnia and Herzegovina would truly benefit from this, especially in order to improve the economy. And we have young people who will do exactly this. So that those people that leave in order to get educated, and then come back to Bosnia and Herzegovina, are a real example of what should be done, and others will make the changes. I am certain of it.