table of contents | abstracts

Lessons Learned from Volunteer Work with Croatian and Bosnian Refugees
Robert P. Conte


The lessons learned are from a personal journey of one mans effort into humanitarian relief work during and after the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. He became involved and volunteered his services to a Croatian founded humanitarian organization that provides psychosocial services to refugees and displaced people. New relationships developed from interaction with national-international volunteers, networking with other organizations, writing of a policy-program manual, working in refugee camps, and follow up with refugees who have resettled into another country or returned to their homeland after the war. The experience is from seven years and thirteen trips to Bosnia and Croatia. Well-meaning foreigners often have their own agenda which may or may not be beneficial. Clear guidelines are needed for international aid. Persons in turmoil will need assistance and communities fragmented by conflicts will need community building strategies. Charity must be temporary and come ladened with kindness, dignity, and the philosophy of empowerment for self help and independence.

Copyright for the I.U.C. Journal of Social Work Theory and Practice is owned by the Social Work Program, Department of Social Relations and Services, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. One copy may be made (printed) for personal use; teachers may make multiple copies for student use if the copies are made available to students without charge. Permission must be secured from the editors for sale of any copies of articles or for any commercial use of the material published in the Journal.
2001 Copyright BSU/IUC Journal of Social Work Theory & Practice