Four years ago, Safet Bektas joined the Danish Refugee Council team as a translator and cultural mediator for Arabic in the Una-Sana Canton area. After a year he was promoted to protection officer operating in the area of Bijeljina, Zvornik, and later Sarajevo. Safet also made a significant contribution to the realization of the project to support persons from Ukraine currently residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I spent a decade in Kuwait, where I studied, learned the language, and worked. By associating with students from various countries, I quickly learned many Arabic dialects and learned about their cultures and customs. This made it easier for me to work with people on the move because I understood better their needs and the difficulties they face,” said Safet, whose working day begins with a visit to the bus station in Sarajevo, where he and the rest of the team accompany the arrival of people on the move who come to our country crossing the border from neighboring Serbia or Montenegro, all in order to reach their final destination – the European Union.
Safet selflessly shares useful information with people on the move concerning their rights, accommodation opportunities in temporary reception centers, access to health care, as well as other services guaranteed by the DRC, some of the partner organizations, or state institutions.
“This work has taught me how important it is to gain the trust of people on the move, to listen to them, and to try for a moment to remove their concerns showing that they can count on my support. The first contact is most important because then we identify vulnerable categories and provide them with all the help they need, but it is also an opportunity to record and report incidents that people on the move have been exposed to during their journey to Sarajevo. We face many challenges while working, one of them is to provide adequate protection and assistance at a given moment, and DRC teams are succeeding in every day,” Safet said, stressing that he is grateful for the opportunity to show his humanity, but also to learn from people on the move how to be more modest and thankful for everything.
Safet and the rest of the field team also visit informal locations where people on the move stay and provide assistance in the form of food and non-food items, refer them to health care if needed, introduce them to the accommodation possibilities in reception centers or refer them to partner organizations.
“Every working day is a story for itself, but also an opportunity to do a good deed. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation and a warm word to make someone easier and more helpful at a given moment. I myself recently went through the most difficult period of my life that I have partly successfully survived because of the support of DRC colleagues. Through work and life I have learned that the most important thing is to be a good human being,” concludes Safet, who spends his free time with his wife and cat Mici.
Safet enjoys spending time in nature but also playing soccer with friends or at PlayStation.