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I Had A Dream

Here's my rendition from my first volunteering visit to Bosnia in the summer of 2007.  Such was the impact of this experience with Emotional Freedom Technique and Tapas Acupressure Technique that I returned the following year for two weeks to repeat the process with other participants and this time adding EmoTrance to the mix, plus working with horses at a spiritually centred farm for adults and children with learning disabilities - that's a whole other story for a gal who had always had a fear of these beautiful powerful and often abused creatures!!!

Sarajevo, A quick low down ...

Sarajevao Hilltop view
Prior to the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo, the picturesque city was for hundreds of years a place of multi ethnic tolerance where Muslims, Serbs, Croats, Turks, Jews and others could peacefully co-exist. That peace was shattered when Sarajevo became an obstacle to Serb nationalists trying to create an ethnically pure country in the former Yugoslavia.

The former Yugoslav army invaded the area with heavy weapons, and during a siege that lasted longer than the torture of Stalingrad fighting and shelling killed in excess of 10,000 people before NATO air strikes finally put an end to Everlasting Flame Memorial, Sarajevothe horror.

Since the Dayton Peace Agreement of 1995 ended the war Sarajevo, now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has been heroically rebuilding itself. Most of their national and cultural monuments, which were intentionally targeted during the war, the first casualty being the National Library that housed ancient scripts and documents, have now been repaired or reconstructed and the side by side celebration of diversity of ethnic communities is impressively once again in evidence. For the visitor it is fascinating to experience the call to prayer from the local mosques with the bells of churches ringing alongside. Handsome religious buildings of different denominations mingle comfortably with no evidence of disharmony or mismatch.

I Had a Dream

Mostar, Bosnia
"My abiding memories of reports from war torn Bosnia and the atrocities that were afflicted upon the people of the area was of the images of the children in those metal sided cots. They created such an indelible impression on my mind that I had a dream that some day, in some way I would offer help. It has taken twelve years for the right opportunity to arise. During that time I have considered going as a volunteer in some capacity but really wanted to feel of significant value. There was the possibility of going as a Reiki Practitioner but for whatever reason that never materialized, and then early in 2007 I was contacted by Karen Tinker about one of my own training workshops. I discovered that she was Training director for Phoenix-aid, a charity who recruit suitably qualified therapists to work in a voluntary capacity with war victims, children and disabled individuals in Sarajevo. To my delight Karen suggested that I might teach Meridian Energy Therapies to Bosnian people, members of the public, health professionals, members of social services and public services so that they may then treat fellow nationals affected by the war. This felt like something where I could personally make a difference. To teach as well as give treatments means to me that more people will be influenced by the benefits and those individuals will touch the lives of many others.

                                                                                                                                          Aida and Mel, Beautiful interpreters
As the weeks flew by and the impending date approached I became uncharacteristically uneasy and nervous, it became almost a feeling of trepidation. I was off to a strange land, without the language, to work through interpreters, and unsure in my mind what to expect. This may have been a dream come true but I am aware of the adage, “Don’t ask for what you want, you might get it!” Whenever I mentioned where I was going I was met with either horror, incredulity, or just plain curiosity, it seems that the common view is that the conditions of war still persist in Bosnia.

I was greeted and shown around the area by Yvonne a fellow therapist and facilitator who left a couple of days later. My fellow flatmate Maeja Raicar and myself were left with a list of instructions and under the guidance of two beautiful interpreters Aida and Mel who came everyday except Tuesday when we were taxied to Zorvic, a donation run home, situated amongst the pine trees in the hills for mentally and physically disabled people. There we were facilitated by Anela, yet another multi lingual beauty.

Twelve Years on ...

Bosnia Childrens Home

The cots look just the same as I remember, which was initially quite shocking to encounter, and also to realise that some of the youngsters residing in them are as old as 15 years old now although it is difficult to believe as their misshapen bodies are no larger that we would imagine a six or seven year old to be. Each child, we treated ten in all, was lifted by other residents onto a bed where Maeja and I could talk and give energy therapies for about fifteen minutes each. Their disabilities varied of course, some were epileptic, blind, deaf, mentally retarded, the centre’s word, not mine, but each appeared to welcome the energy and sense of touch, which created lovely smiles. The pinnacle of the day for me was when one young man who repeatedly punches his head because of the pain he endures from an ear that constantly discharges and creates pain took my hands from above his head and placed them meaningfully in exactly the place he needed them to be. I have no idea of the level of comfort he derived from this but it was obviously just what he required in the moment.

After lunch we briefly worked with ten other, more mature, it was hard to determine their age, residents who inhabited the beds of the neighbouring room. Remaining detached from the sight of their disabilities and lack of mental capacity was the order of the day. I was so thankful for the years of experience I gained from working with adults with learning disabilities. It was mainly a case of asking permission on some level to send distant healing so as not to be intrusive in their private incommunicative worlds.

The rooms are bright, all residents are clean, loved and well cared for despite shortage of staffing – there are 4 day staff plus one cook for 75 people, and just 2 night staff. It would be easy for the observer to claim that the children are under stimulated but I believe these people are doing the very best they can with what few resources they have.

Teaching - What a privilege ...

Maeja Raicar
Teaching of Meridian Energy Therapies took place in a light and airy room in the flat with twice daily sessions of three hours for three days and TAT instruction for two sessions on the final day. In addition to this I gave private treatment sessions to three clients on Thursday afternoon. Maeja and Yvonne gave treatments throughout the day for each weekday they were in the flat. As respite we visited the most beautiful swimming pool in the world. A short walk away where we were able to relax in natural sulphur water literally surrounded by the panoramic view of the beautiful mountains and forestland.

Teaching techniques for the release of trauma to people who have suffered on such a scale and yet rarely discuss their horrific experiences was so humbling, and ensured that the workshops took on a dimension Bosnian StudentsI could never have envisaged - necessity certainly IS the mother of invention and how I teach will never be the same again. Heartrending moments were many, as participants let go of the feelings associated with tragic and cruel memories, yet for me, nothing was more poignant than when a whole group practiced TAT together. It was so profound that it literally took my breath away.

Due to my deep feelings of respect for those involved with the workshops I took few photographs, which turned out to be a real shame because what I realised as the week progressed is that Bosnian people just love the camera. They do not have our inhibitions and are certainly not camera shy. Photo opportunities are met with delight. When I asked Aida to pose her response with a beaming smile was, “Of course, I know I am beautiful”, and one lady who had just been through a huge tearful release of painful memory dried her eyes, straightened her hair, and her shoulders, and posed happily even though I had offered to wait until another day. How refreshing!

"I’ve learned something new and I am so grateful for that. Discovering one more secret inside us, (and we don’t know that without this technique), was for me fascinating.
Getting to know yourself is the biggest secret of the Universe."

Julia, Sarajevo, Bosnia

"I felt pleasant in your company Sally and because of that, on the senses, I was always 100% released and I think that I set free my sadness with your help,(my trauma). And now I feel happy.

Wish you all the best and lots of love (to be there always with you)."

Selma, Bosnia

"I felt like this course is a new dimension in my life, something good is happening. My willingness and need to help become bigger and this course makes that possible.

I am grateful teacher because this means a better life for me. So thank you for all feelings and all good stuff!"

Eva, Bosnia

"My opinion about the course:
I think I’ve lived something special. I have moved one big trauma, which was still a big deal for me. You helped to get rid of that fear and how to handle the problem. Thank you very much for this education. Until now, I learned so much about lots of treatments, but this one for me is something special."

EnKiss, Zehra, Sarajevo, Bosnia

So thankful to have been a part of this

TAT in Bosnia
It was a week of joy and fun as well as sadness and surprises – it was so easy to be part of that tiny team on this occasion. Sarajevo is stunning, and the individuals I was privileged to train, work with, and encounter were nothing short of amazing when you consider their memories of abuse, shootings and being held in the cruel and squalid conditions of concentration camps. The horrors of families helplessly witnessing their loved ones being executed or shot and left for dead, of mothers raped in front of their children, and of family members whose bodies have never been recovered for burial have created emotional scars far deeper than the physical ones from shrapnel that some still carry around.

I am deeply honoured to have been part of the history that this UK team is creating and am happy in the knowledge that the teaching of Meridian Therapies will make a difference in the lives of many.

"Sally was very patient and skilled in conveying difficult concepts to a very mixed group, with amazing results.

I was particularly interested in its relevance to Inner Child work I do, and effectiveness of the process in accessing trauma so quickly. I hope to integrate this technique into my own work."
Maija Raicar Psychotherapist/Life Coach, Sarajevo, Bosnia

"This is surprisingly simple. Process is very easy to learn, and in my case effective.

Sally, Leader of workshop was guiding process of education with confidence the whole way to the end. Very useful too which needs to be used. Thanks"

Slavisa Draskovic, Bosnia

"Energy system reacts on intention. I think that is the key for the understanding.

This is all new for me and I think that I was successful in this technique when I was working with people. My clients felt better after, no pain. I am happy that I have met such a nice person with lot of positive energy – Prof Sally. Thank you for successful training."

Enver, Bosnia


Is a registered charity based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire who work with individuals and groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

Registered Charity Number; 1103938

Their plans are based on the precepts of utilitarianism - the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

Seven years after the end of the war Sarah Greenwood had previously worked with a charity in Bosnia treating war victims with various therapies to alleviate their distress and discomfort. It was heartbreaking. With a small group of like minded people she set up Phoenix-aid to provide a service that could fulfill the need for Bosnian people who wish to train in therapies (primarily massage techniques), to treat their fellow nationals. The objective is to provide widespread access to suitably qualified personnel by those who would benefit from this type of treatment. All trainees must agree to provide a minimum of 4 or 5 free treatments per month to those unable to afford treatment.

Since its inception in 2003 Phoenix-aid has held several training courses a year in Bosnia teaching basic and advanced massage techniques, deep tissue massage and joint manipulation, reflexology, aromatherapy, Reiki, Meridian Therapies and other Energy Techniques. In spring 2006 they were accepted by the International Therapies Examinations Council (ITEC) to teach their courses.

November 2004 Phoenix-aid saw the launch by of the first Riding for the Disabled group in Bosnia in partnership with a local organisation called Land of Peace who own riding facilities at Kakrinje near Sarajevo. Phoenix-aid organised for a UK Riding for the Disabled advisor, Lix Ellis, to come out and train staff and horses ready for the venture. The activity has gone from strength to strengt, attracting groups from as far away as Tulza and Mostar and providing therapeutic benefits and pleasure to many disabled children and adults.

Employment Provision

Apart from the ongoing training courses, Phoenix-aid has undertaken research in to setting up various employment providing projects, including two agricultural based schemes and a scheme to utilise handicraft skills in the fashion industry.

They employ Bosnian nationals as their interpreters.

Bosbags – this scheme for manufacturing bags and fashion accessories has been in the research and development stage for 3 years with the intention to be operational in late 2007. Initially the products will be marketed in the UK.