Center for Education and Research Nahla is EFOMW’s member organisation who offers variety of inspirational and empowering activities to it’s members and wider society. Their mission is to empower women through education and creation of stimulating environment for their personal development and competent participation in social processes.

In their work they are mainly focused on group activities with personal contact, and COVID-19 pandemic became a huge challenge for their work. See how they have succeeded to move almost all their activities to online platforms and in a very short time successfully reconnect and include their members in online work.  

Center for education and research NAHLA – Let us inspire you to be positive and productive

Practices during coronavirus pandemic

Bosnia and Herzegovina these days are facing coronavirus as all other European countries and the whole world. The number of cases is fewer than in the region, but it is increasing daily, however in a relatively moderate pace. Till now there is still a small number of death cases and more than a thousand people in self-isolation. The government took several measures regarding pandemic to prevent its spread as much as possible. For two weeks on, kindergartens, schools and universities are closed for regular classwork, and teaching switched online; other group activities such as sports and other gatherings are also forbidden. The curfew is imposed throughout the country and many other measures restricting outdoor activities. Sarajevo Airport is closed as well.

In this situation, the Center for education and research NAHLA was faced with a very big challenge. We were aware that all measures that the government has taken would make a big change in our daily routine. We were forced to stop all of our activities (lectures, sports, seminars, Islamic programs, youth activities, and others) in all of our three centres (Sarajevo, Bihać and Tuzla). With that, for now, we lost individual, direct contact with over 500 members daily. All regular activities in centres are stopped to protect our members and our staff.

However, what looked like problem and difficult situation, we recognized as a new challenge in our path of success and an opportunity to grow up and develop new models of work – an online model of work and communication within our team and with our members and users. NAHLA’s team put as its higher priority providing to its members, women of all ages, and a wider community, a hand of support and opportunity to continue with the education and skills development during days spent in the self-isolation. Also, our team is focused on being source of positivity, valuable advices and quality information.

We continued with our main activities – providing educational programs, programs for youth and Islamic programs, but now through online platforms. In the first days of remote work, the whole team was engaged in researching and testing various online platforms and applications that could be used for our future online classes and meetings. Thanks to that effort, in less than a week, we succeeded to launch NAHLA’s first free online course. Now, we started to resume programs and lectures which already started in the centre and were stopped, because of the situation with coronavirus. This week we will start with lectures of School of Qur’an online in seven groups. Also in the upcoming weeks, other Islamic programs will soon continue online. The advantage of online work is that now our educational programs will be available to everyone all over our dear country Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

NAHLA’s Business Community is strengthening its relationship with its members by providing them support needed in these days through professional advices on how to deal with the current situation. “Mentoring for Growth” – a program for women entrepreneurs will continue with their regular activities online, as well.

We are also taking care of our young population. Through daily communication with them, coordinators are empowering them to use their time wisely; giving them needed support, by being a source of positive vibes. Girls are engaged in various online campaigns, in-group challenges, creativity work and many other activities which make them go through this shared challenge of self-isolation together and with each other’s support. This week also, regular meetings with Youth club “Tignum” continued online.

Since our playground is also closed and parents spend more time with their kids, we prepare different activities for the whole family. To help those families who are facing new challenges in terms of work-life balance and the whole new situation with home schools and home offices, we offered a free online webinar on how to deal with the situation (“Isolation: the family dynamic, online work and school”), given by one of our lecturers who have many years of experience in working from home.

Our team also took care of the physical and mental health of our members. NAHLA’s Fitness Center is sharing workout videos daily, specifically prepared and recorded by our fitness instructor to keep in touch with our loyal users, help them in maintaining their physical health, and make them feel supported. For that reason, the fitness team started live trainings two times a day (morning and evening training), in closed groups specifically tailored for women.

Deeply concerned about potential difficulties that our people may face during this period of isolation, that can trigger the traumatic experience of aggression of 1992-1995, and difficult economic and social situation in the country with a great number of laying off workers to cut costs, we engaged our psychotherapists to offer psychological support through the open phone line. They are available eight hours daily, during weekdays, so people could ask for professional advice and support in case of anxiety, depression or other difficulties. Also, our Psychological Counseling Office continued providing its regular service through video sessions.

Smiles, kind words and warm atmosphere spread by over 500 women of all generations we were meeting daily in our Centers are now totally replaced by online communication, although not strange to us, but unusual. While we are waiting with impatience and joy our return to the Center, we believe that this is an opportunity for us to grow, develop, and strengthen our relationships inside the team and with our dear members.