History Crea Thera Bosnia


• The first building blocks of Crea Thera were laid in the summer of 2006. Music therapist Thomas Deleu then worked on a summer camp for children from the Srebrenica region. That was 11 years after the Bosnian War and the genocide on the Muslim population of Srebrenica. At that time tensions between the population groups were still very strong. The summer camp was intended to restore connection between the two population groups. The result of that camp was a musical theatre play performed in the cultural Centre of Srebrenica.

• Between 2006 and 2008 two creative camps followed. During that period Thomas took initiative to establish a permanent therapeutic centre. At that time Srebrenica had few organizations offering therapeutic support to children. After several meetings and conversations in the community of Srebrenica financial support came in 2008. A team of Belgian and Dutch creative therapists worked with the children in Bosnia. In 2008 the NGO was officially established as Crea Thera International.

• In the early days Crea Thera worked with mainly children. They came from the centre of Srebrenica and from the surrounding mountain villages. There was also a weekly workshop in a refugee camp in Tuzla with children from Srebrenica. There was a divers range of workshops: singing, playing instruments, theatre exercises and more. There was a show moment at the end of the day. Different therapeutic mediums were offered. The constant was music therapy, but there was also dance, drama and visual therapy alternately. Every 6 to 12 months a new group of therapists came to continue the work with the children. Both in group and individually.

• From 2010 Crea Thera also started with adults. In Srebrenica this was mainly with women. They were invited to the Crea Thera Centre for creative workshops in combination with psychotherapeutic group discussions. A Bosnian psychotherapist Ajla Terzic supervised these sessions. Working with adults in Srebrenica proved to be a difficult task. There was a strong taboo around participation in “therapies”. At the end of that year these sessions for women ended because too few people turned up.

• In a joint project with the Italian NGO Cesvi, Crea Thera promoted music therapy nationwide. By offering music therapy workshops to teams from different care centres, there was more interest in this medium.

• Between 2011 and 2013 Crea Thera organized monthly music therapy sessions (group and individual) for drug addicted people in the therapeutic community “Izvor” in Plehan (Doboj).

• Between 2013 - 2015, a music therapy project was running in the child psychiatric department of Kosevo in the University Hospital of Sarajevo. Weekly sessions for children with various psychological problems.

• In 2016, support was provided by the province of West Flanders (Belgium) for a three-year project aimed at continuing to work independently and sustainably with local workshop leaders. A Bosnian team was trained by music therapist Thomas Deleu and by the Dutch trauma therapist Anne van den Ouwelant. Two important sub-projects took shape: - “Sources of Life” aimed at working with children - “The power of Creative Therapies in the de-stigmatization of people with mental health disorders in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Rep Srpska) 2016-2019” focused on the use of basic therapeutic skills for empowerment of psychiatric day patients from 3 regional day centres (Vlasenica, Srebrenica and Milici )

• In 2019, the Bosnian branch of Crea Thera International was put on hold. The Bosnian team didn’t succeed to continue the organization independently. Interest from healthcare institutions and schools was also too limited.

• In 2019, Thomas decided to offer annual music camps for the children from two mountain villages, Osmace and Osat. They are located about 40 kilometres from the centre of Srebrenica, not that far from where it all once started. With this offer Thomas wants to support and stimulate these children in their creative development. This project takes shape together with a Bosnian workshop assistant Azmir Masic.