A MODERN-DAY Romeo and Juliet couple are fund raising to help spread their message - about the importance of the arts to heal divides.

The couple Marko Stankovic and Irina Maria Ganescu are two young people who met in Bosnia at a The Complete Freedom of Truth event in 2015.

Tina Ellen Lee, director of Bridport's Opera Circus, which has been overseeing the TCFT project locally and training youngsters to deliver its events, said: "They became our Romeo and Juliet and married a year later. Marko was born in Srebrenica and Irina is from Romania.

"They now live in Srebrenica and are working incredibly hard building opportunities for other young people. "Marko also works as a music facilitator for disabled children and the local mental health clinic.

"They have planted peace roses, run workshops with children, organised sports events, started a collective of like minds and now they are aiming to run a one-week mini TCFT to offer to the local young people a whole variety of workshops, music, dance, art, film, theatre and painting.

"The facilitators will mostly be young people trained by Opera Circus events and other international NGOs.

"This is what we all dreamed to see, the young people whom we began working with in 2008 starting to deliver their own arts and cultural activities to offer a future to the young people of this troubled region."

They need to raise a minimum of £2500 and have already raised more than £700.

Marko said: "We aim to create, through a week of research, workshops, performances and discussions, the base of a strong and collaborative youth community by involving young talented artists from five countries - UK, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Bosnia.

"By bringing our friends from our International TCFT youth community for a week of interactive research, workshops and discussions on the future of youth in Srebrenica, we are passionate to create the proper environment for this youth exchange and show the importance and beauty of European cultural collaboration."

He said TCFT had given them both confidence and hope as well as a greater understanding of the world.

He added: "New generations are coming and we wish for them to have the same life changing experience that we did.

"The materialistic approach that many of us are taught today only divides us, but the artistic and creative part of life brings us together.

"Please support us so that we can continue the positive work that started in 2015. You will be making a genuine difference in the lives of young people."

Anyone who wants to help can do so at crowdfunder.co.uk/arts-and-friendships