The start-up phase of Loza Foundation’s aid projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina is now underway after a ten-day research trip to a number of institutions and operations around the country.
“The goal is to reach the most vulnerable people and improve their living conditions”, says Sabina Grubbeson.
Towards the end of April, Sabina Grubbeson, founder of Loza Foundation, visited various institutions, group homes and organisations that are working with and for people who are especially exposed and vulnerable in Bosnia.
To find these operations Sabina contacted the Swedish branch of the National Women’s Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Nasa Djeca (Our children), a Swedish organisation that is helping vulnerable children in Bosnia. Sabina also met with Fata Ibralic, the chairwoman of Sumero, an organisation that strives to get institutionalised people in Bosnia and Herzegovina included in society.
“Based on our foundation guidelines, i.e. to help people with disabilities, women and children in vulnerable positions as well as the organisations and operations that have these groups’ best interest at heart, they all came up with suggestions of which places we should visit”, says Sabina Grubbeson.
This resulted in a ten-day long research trip through Bosnia, where they managed to visit 15 different locations. The locations spanned from organisations and associations, which help women who have fallen victim to the war, to larger institutions, where disabled children and adults live.
“One of the most vulnerable groups in the country is the individuals that, due to different reasons, have been placed in institutions. In these places, there could be hundreds of people living in prison-like surroundings and they spend most of their lives there”, says Sabina.
But there´s also a glimmer of hope and light. In some institutions, the authorities have moved people to smaller premises and houses, where they are supposed to readjust to the society and eventually learn to care for themselves. The Loza staff members had one particularly inspiring meeting with Fata Ibralic, the chairwoman of Sumero. This is an organisation with an aim of getting institutionalised people included in society. Fata is running a daycentre in Tuzla, where people with various functional disabilities receive training and education to make them independent and able to function in the society. She has also built up a self-sufficient group residence for people that have been living at various institutions before.
“It was amazing to see Fata’s work and what she has managed to achieve for the weakest and most vulnerable group in society.”
The task of choosing which projects Loza Foundation should support have only just started. First and foremost they are focusing on a project for disabled people, but they are also carrying on with their research in order to develop a plan to support vulnerable women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Our work in Bosnia and Herzegovina has only just begun. We look forward to reaching out to people that are often not aware of their human rights and we can give them an opportunity to have a brighter future”, says Sabina Grubbeson.
These are the locations Loza Foundation visited:
- Duje Institution in Doboj, north-eastern Bosnia, with 450 people with disabilities.
- Drin Institution in Fojnica, outside Sarajevo, with close to 500 people with disabilities.
- Bacovici Institution, close to Drin, with approx 300 people with disabilities.
- Pazaric Institution, north of Sarajevo, with approx 350 disabled children and adults.
- Stolac Institution in southern Bosnia, a former juvenile detention facility where the authorities have decided to house 150 people with various disabilities.
- USU Garden, a self-sufficient group residence that manages a farm of their own. A project managed by Fata Ibralic.
- Daycare centre in Zepce for disabled children.
- Nasa Djeca (‘Our Children’) in Mostar for children with disabilities.
- Los Rosales in Mostar, a daycare centre and residence for children with disabilities.
- SOS children´s villages in Sarajevo.
- Education centre in Srebrenica, which is a primary school and residential home for children coming from remote villages with no access to schooling nearby.
- USUTZ (Association for Social Inclusion of People with Intellectual Disabilities) run by Fata Ibralic.
- MyRight in Sarajevo, a Swedish foundation with an aim of support to development and structure organisations for disabled people.
- Snaga Zene that work for women all around Bosnia, who have fallen victims to the war.
- Nas Glas, in Tuzla, an association for women victims of the war.