A long time ago, my Mom told me the saying that „it is not buildings that make a town, but people.“ As I travelled towards Neum, I thought about the impressions that I would get about this town where I know no one. Then, Vlaho was one of the first people I met, and, if you ask me, I would recommend to everyone to get to know Neum through Vlaho, because that way they wil get an exceptionally positive impression and fall in love with it.

Because, above all, Vlaho is a cheerful young man simply exuding positive energy. And I do not mean this as a steretype – while you talk to him, you have the feeling that there is nothing that can disturb or bother him. And there is another stereotype that Vlaho is destroying – about young men who do not want to work, or who are picky about jobs. He listed for me all his jobs – from dealing with electricity and putting in some installations, to tending bar in season, and everything else he gets a chance to do, and he knows how – nothing is too difficult and nothing is beneath him. In addition to all that, he is a university student and an activist in Schüler Helfen Leben, an organization he found himself, because he wanted to improve and advance himself. And this is exactly what happened – he said he built up his confidence through all this, he met a lot of people and made friends throughout BiH. And he would not think of leaving Neum, possibly he could trade it for Mostar if necessary, for reasons of work and life.

I hope that he will remain positive and cheerful and that he would not have to abandon his dreams, and that he would manage to fulfill all those plans that are so enthusiastically roiling in his head and waiting for their turn.

Vlaho Matić:

A student of computer engineering at the School of Mechanical and Computer Engineering in Mostar. For the second year running I have worked as an evaluator with the Schüler Helfen Leben Foundation on assessing applications submited by people seeking our grants, because we provide grants of up to 4,000 KM for projects that provide community services, in other words help improve the situation in BiH.

What else did you do in Neum?

In Neum, as regards SHL-related projects, we drew down the funds for the project of the city library, and it is opening soon, most of the project has been completed. We organized a photo competition, as a reward we provied books and organized two performances, where entry fee was not in money, but in books, and we collected a respectable number of books for our new library. And we also already furnished the premises, and we are just waiting for the opening.

In Neum, not many people are active in NGOs?

Yes, and that is a big problem for Neum, that people are very inactive and we only have a few individuals, who are doing something, predominantly in culture and sports, primarily to make things better for the young people.

From your experience, would you recommend it?

Naturally, I would recommend it to everyone, and everyone who shows any kind of interest, I try to offer my experience and help him and connect him to the people from the rest of BiH who work in the NGO sector. Because that experience is really invaluable and I perfected many of my skills by working in the NGO sector.

You do not plan to leave BiH?

Never. So, it is Neum for me, perhaps I might go as far as Mostar, but I doubt I will ever leave Bosnia and Herzegovina. No, I am sure.

What would be your ideal job, what would you like to do?

I don’t know yet. I’m really into so many things, from music, I like to work with electricity… Some kind of technology, computers, programming, so, the stuff I study.

And are you planning to remain involved in community activities?

Certainly. To the limit of my powers. I do not know what my job will demand tomorrow, but as long as I have free time, I would be involved in community work.