Supporting vulnerable children and young adults in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Our Kids Foundation is a UK registered charity that designs, initiates, and funds long term strategic projects to improve the lives and future prospects of children and young adults in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We work within the themes of health, poverty, education and employment. Often, but not exclusively, the beneficiaries of our projects are children living in institutional care and those with disabilities.
Our strategic approach achieves long term sustainable improvements for the children and young people. It also creates jobs and contributes to the wider post-war recovery process within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Why Bosnia and Herzegovina
Life in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina is not easy, with fragmented communities and uneasy government operating within an economically challenged environment. There is currently more than 40% unemployment and as many as 50% of people living below the poverty line.
Many families’ lives reflect this fragmentation and the battle with poverty. Support for these families is thin on the ground. For some, institutional care for their children becomes the only option for survival, especially for disabled children. Of the 4,000 children estimated to be in care in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as many as 40% are thought to be learning disabled.
Life is hard enough for all young people on leaving care at the age of 18 years, but those with special needs can only look forward to a life in large asylum-like institutions. Institutions are not the best places for anyone to be! We aim to develop and promote ways of working for children in care and their families that are different to current institutional practices..
Registered and regulated by the Charity Commission since 2010.
Over £558,000 raised for the children of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Our Kids is run by a volunteer Board who take no payment for their time.
Russ started volunteering with Our Kids Foundation in 2014, and was appointed as Chairman in 2021. Russ has worked in the software industry for over 25 years. In 2004 he co-founded a software company now based in Boston, USA. He is also the founder of Northcape Group, a social enterprise that donates all profits to good causes and provides free vocational training to help young people and long term unemployed develop their careers. Russ also spent 4 years as a foster carer in the UK, and has been a teacher of business and economics at the Mostar Summer Youth Program since 2014.
Davorka has worked in finance and accounts management for over 30 years. Originally from Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, she moved to the UK with her family in 1992. After working for a number of successful companies in a range of sectors, Davorka set up her own financial management and accounting business. She has extensive experience of managing all financial aspects of a company. Davorka is one of the founding members of Our Kids Foundation. After visiting the Egipatsko Selo orphanage in Mostar, she rallied a diverse group of individuals in London and spearheaded the establishment, registration and operation of the Foundation. Ever since, she has been heavily involved in all aspects of the charity, organising fundraising parties, helping to run school trips, establishing contacts and applying for funding. Davorka is also the key contact for all major stakeholders in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and the UK, and her extensive knowledge of the local government’s regulations and policies are invaluable for the Foundation’s work. Currently, Davorka is focused on Our Kids’ biggest project to date, the establishment of an institution that will serve as a training centre for individuals who leave the orphanage once they reach the age of 18.
Silva brings more than 15 years experience in management, leadership, operations, human resources and finance in the local government sector with a background in social inclusion, service development and business transformation. Silva started volunteering for Our Kids in 2011 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2013 to 2021. As well as continuing as a member of the Board in the UK, Silva is also the Executive Director of Naša Djeca, the Foundation’s non-profit organisation registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Lana has worked as a secondary school teacher for nearly ten years. She has worked in a number of comprehensive schools in London and was the Assistant Principal and Head of Sixth Form at Chelsea Academy. Currently, she is teaching in Doha, Qatar. Originally from Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lana moved to the UK in 1992. She was one of the founding members of Our Kids Foundation. She set up the annual school trip to Egipatsko Selo orphanage and has taken over 100 students from the UK to the orphanage so far. She has extensive experience of organising volunteer trips and working with young people to develop their social and teamwork skills, as well as their leadership potential and awareness of the wider world. Lana has also been involved in organising the fundraising parties for Our Kids. Currently, she is focusing her fundraising efforts in Qatar.
Sacira is a senior global Project Finance executive. She has been advising the public sector and private financiers on infrastructure strategy, development and delivery for more than 20 years. She also holds Non-Executive Director Board appointments on behalf of the UK Government. Sacira started volunteering for Our Kids in 2012 and has focused her efforts on fund raising activities in London. She is responsible for fund raising strategy, planning and organising events with award winning artists promoting the traditional music from the Balkans. Sacira has strong financial, project management and marketing skills and is actively involved in promoting and overseeing several of the Foundation’s existing projects.
Freya is an experienced charity leader and educator based in the UK, with over 10 years’ experience working with youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Freya has worked for a number of UK-based and international NGOs and education institutions, designing and overseeing the delivery of a range of projects, including teacher professional development programmes, school improvement initiatives and community-led innovations, to support children and families across the UK. Freya co-founded the Mostar Summer Youth Program in 2014 and is Acting President of UčiMo Foundation, an education charity based in Mostar. Freya has volunteered with Our Kids Foundation since 2009 and joined the Board in 2013.