Youth unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina: How much rejection can you take?

 Employment centres across the country offer job and skills training and help young people find jobs
Employment centres across the country offer job and skills training and help young people find jobs

I was at the most unusual exhibition. Contemporary art. Installation. Real life. Call it whatever you want, but it was not a common thing to see.

Highlights

  • Imagine a wall of panels, 10 metres long, with more than 100 rejection letters from various institutions.
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost 60 percent of young people are unemployed.
  • Staff from the centres provided opportunities for informal and formal education, training on CV writing, IT literacy and English language courses to more than 40,000 young people ages 16 and older.

Imagine a wall of panels, 10 metres long, with more than 100 rejection letters from various institutions.

A 26 year old history professor, Dušan Jokić, is the creator and curator of the exhibit. He and his colleagues, all college educated, were applying for jobs for more than two years – submitting applications, sending CVs, never losing hope. Always the same answer: No.

With time, their hope got thinner and the stack of rejection letters grew bigger. Not losing his sense of humour, Dušan decided to demonstrate how difficult it is to be a young person looking for a job.

He decided to create an exhibit and share the results of his job search with the world, inviting young people to bring and post their own rejection letters.

Thinking about young people, I ask myself how many rejections can they take without giving up?

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost 60 percent (pdf) of young people are unemployed.

To show what it feels like to look for a job, we talked to two young women – Sanja and Bojana. They are almost the same age, with one major difference. Sanja is unemployed. Bojana is a career advisor, helping her to find job.

In response to high youth unemployment, a United Nations programme, funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, helps young people find jobs and develop their skills. The programme set up 17 centres across the country to provide education, counseling and information.

Bojana is one of 59 career advisors, who have already helped more than 3,700 young people find their first job in the last three years. Staff from the centres provided opportunities for informal and formal education, training on CV writing, IT literacy and English language courses to more than 40,000 young people ages 16 and older.

My message to them is simple: Keep on trying, don’t give up.

Bosnia and Herzegovina knows well the dangers of hopelessness. Brain drain and loss of talented young people is damaging our society. Today, more than half of the people we interviewed (pdf) said that they would immediately leave the country if they had the chance – because there are just so many NOs you(th) can take.

Story about Sanja and Bojana


Voices of Youth


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