My name is Vedad Imamovic. I am originally from Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was hardly hit by the recent floods that destroyed big parts of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. Currently, I live and work in Chicago, USA, where I came in 1997 after losing pretty much everything in the Bosnian War. I know very well what it means to depend on constant humanitarian help, as that was the way my family survived the war. I also know what it means to start from the scratch and try to make one’s own living. But for sure I know that making one’s own living is much more rewarding than being dependable on someone else.
I am sure many of you have seen pictures or videos like the one above, which best speak about the volume of damage that has been done in the regions of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.
It is hard to imagine that there are many cities, towns and villages in which people lost literally everything. Through a conversation with a volunteer that was helping clean up the flooded houses in the City of Maglaj, BiH, we learned about a woman and her two sons who got about 75 pounds of flour and two gallons of oil from Red Cross, but do not have a shelf to store it on, let alone a stove to make it into food. Through a local blogger's YouTube post, we saw a man who lost more than 300 cows from his farm in the region of Posavina, BiH. We also heard about many people from villages that lost few or the only cow they had, the only source of food and some income they were getting on regular basis.
Thank to good people all over the world, we see that there is a plenty of humanitarian aid to help with the immediate needs. While the good people in these regions are helping those whose houses are filled with feet of mud, while the good people from diaspora are sending plenty of food, personal hygiene items, clothes and everything else the affected people need immediately, we have to ask ourselves HOW WILL THESE POPLE LIVE NORMALLY AGAIN after the help stops coming.
I believe the best way to help the affected people is by helping them build the life they had before. This will make life sustainable after the immediate help stops coming. As a great Japanese proverb says "teaching me how to fish is better than giving me a fish every day," I believe that giving something that will enable these people to make their own living is much better than making them be dependable on humanitarian aid.
Because I, and my three friends who will all be in Bosnia this summer, believe that ideas like this will be crucial for the next phase of restructuring the damaged regions, we decided to make our contribution to the process. We want to raise enough money to buy at least 50 milking cows and donate one to each of fifty families who lost cows in the floods. For those not familiar with it, in a typical village in Bosnia a cow can be a means for a family of four to have more than enough dairy products on a daily basis. Selling the excess milk in various forms of dairy products can also help with purchasing the necessities which cannot be home made.
As I stated, I will personally be in Bosnia from June 15th to September 1st and make sure that every penny you donate will be accounted for. There will be no administration fees of any kind. Every dollar you donate will go towards purchasing the cows. We will develop a website through which you will be able to see the updates for this project.
Thank you on behalf of all people affected by floods in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.
- Damaris Woodbury
- Amela,Aldin Hamza & Hena
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