SOS Children in Bosnia-Herzegovina

bosnia sponsorship locations

The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is still struggling to recover from three years of bloody inter-ethnic war during 1992-95. Around 250,000 people died in the conflict between Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs - part of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

War, poverty and the daily struggle for survival have deeply affected the traditional extended family structure. Children and young people cope with deeply traumatic experiences relating to the war and post war period. Family violence is a problem. Bosnia and Herzegovina has become a regional centre for trafficked women and girls.

The war was still in progress when the charity first began working there in 1994 with an emergency aid programme for families in Sarajevo who were caring for orphaned children. Specialised treatment was also provided for a number of deaf and dumb children, as well as children suffering from diabetes. Youth clubs, which also offered therapy and counselling, were set up to help young people, families and children cope with the traumas life in the besieged city

After the war, work began on two SOS Children's communities. SOS Children Sarajevo, built on a site provided by the city authorities in Mojmila, a residential district which was extensively damaged during the war, took in its first families in 1997. All of the children were war-affected with parents killed or missing during the war. The village has fifteen family houses, built in traditional Bosnian style and a youth house.

In 1999 the charity finished work on an SOS Social Centre close to the Children’s Village. It includes a kindergarten for sixty children and a computer centre to train young people in IT skills. English and German language classes are provided, as well as handicrafts and visual arts workshops. Around 800 children and young people are currently benefiting from the facilities. There is also an adventure playground which provides somewhere for children from the SOS Children's Village and the neighbourhood to play in safety away from the busy city streets.

In autumn 2003 the popular Play-Mobil-Project, which has been running very successfully in Albania and Romania, was introduced in Sarajevo with the aim of helping to keep children off the streets. continued

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s second SOS Children’s communuity opened in north-eastern Bosnia on a hill overlooking the town of Gracanica, about 35 km from Tuzla in 1998. SOS Children Gracania has twelve family houses built in the traditional style and a youth house for the children who have grown up in the village and are now on the verge of independence.

Other SOS projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina include the rebuilding of two kindergartens in Mostar which were destroyed in the war, one of which has now been handed over to the city authorities to run, and a kindergarten in Gorazde.

Local Contact

SOS Children's Villages Bosnia and Herzegovina, Semira Fraste bb, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

tel +387/33/465 218 e-mail

Bosnia Child Sponsorship

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