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Young man from Vitez revives the traditional folk costume of the Lašvan Valley

Seven participants successfully completed the tailoring and sewing training conducted by the Center for Education and Research (CEI) Nahl within the framework of the Regional Programme of Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2). The skills they acquired opened up new opportunities for employment in the textile industry as well as the possibility of starting their own business.

Dressed in a shirt, a hand-embroidered vest and a hand-woven belt around his waist, young Josip Bralo proudly preserves the heritage of Lašvan valley in the immediate vicinity of Vitez, his birthplace. Wearing an autochthonous folk costume, Josip tries to tear the tradition of the Lašvan region from oblivion.

“Let’s sing that life changes, not say goodbye,” says a smiling Bralo.

This young man is not only a passionate lover of culture and tradition but is also dedicated to its revival. In her free time, she is engaged in sewing and tailoring, as well as handcrafting old samples of Lašvan costumes. The carefully embroidered vest and belt he wears reveal how much love and patience is hidden behind the work of this Knight.

Josip recalls that it all started from hanging out with his grandmother Eva with fabrics and a sewing machine.

“I had the will to learn, and she selflessly passed on her knowledge to me. She taught me to make a costume in the old-fashioned way”, says Bralo, who has developed a great love for sewing.

In his desire to advance and expand his knowledge, Josip participated in sewing and tailoring workshops organized as part of ReLOaD2 at CEI Nahla. He is one of a total of seven participants from Centar Sarajevo, Novo Sarajevo, Vitez and Istočno Sarajevo who went through this training.

While he was familiar with traditional sewing patterns, the workshops helped Josip to master newer techniques of working with a machine.

“Here we learned how to work with fabric more simply and easily. These are all little things that will help us in the future. The more we work, the faster and more capable we become,” said Bralo.

So far, he has managed to sew several items of clothing – a shirt, trousers, a skirt and a dress. Although this is not his primary occupation, he has been devoted to sewing and needlework for a long time. He admits that this is a very challenging hobby that requires a lot of time, patience and effort. However, love is stronger.

“I would like to preserve what our grandparents jealously kept in chests for years, to transfer all these old jobs, which are no longer done, to someone and to preserve them as much as I can. If we lose tradition, we have lost everything,” said Josip.

The tailoring and sewing training at CEI Nahla consisted of theoretical and practical work, with constant monitoring of the individual progress of participants through independent tasks and works that they had to complete at the end of each module as a form of exam material. The acquired skills will give young sewing and tailoring enthusiasts the opportunity to secure a place on the labor market in the textile industry.

CEI coordinator Nahla Amina Džaferović says that the training was able to respond to all the needs of these young people and that they mastered all training modules regardless of previous experience. She adds that the training helped them improve their creative and production process.

“This group of young people is extremely interesting and vibrant. Some of them were absolute beginners without any previous experience in the field of sewing and the creative industry in general. Others are skilled in old crafts and handicrafts, and some even have their own business fashion brand”, said Džaferović.

All participants have successfully created several items of clothing – skirt, blouse, dress, trousers and jacket, and are ready to further improve their knowledge through practical work.

“We believe that this training will significantly improve their chances for better positioning on the labor market of the textile industry, and we can’t wait to see their creations in the coming period and the further progress that awaits them,” said Džaferović.

Training at CEI Nahla is organized within the framework of the ReLOaD2 project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in BiH (UNDP BiH). The goal of organizing various trainings within the ReLOaD2 project is to strengthen the capacity of young people and develop their skills.

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