February 23, 2016

Visiting returnees near Tuzla

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Report: SZS Republic of Srpska /DONATE/ /SEND SMS TO 7763 (IN SERBIA)/
The Stankovic family is one of few returnee families that, after the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, returned to their village Pozarnica, about 10 km away from Tuzla, which today belongs to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The family counts five members: grandmother Slavojka (1957), her son Dragan (1977) and his wife Branka (1978) with their two sons: Mihajlo (2010) and Aleksandar (2014). We visited this family after we had been called by Zeljko Pantic from Obnova Youth Association.

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Grandmother Slavojka and her son Dragan in the village of Pozarnica

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Hard returnee life for Serbs in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

When the war started, the family left their home, as well as other Serbs from Pozarnica, and found refuge in Bijeljina, where they lived in a refugee camp. They stayed there until 2001, when they returned to their village. Before the war, Pozarnica counted several hundred households, and today there are a little over twenty. Serbs do not return there because they see no future.

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Youngest Aleksandar with his mother Branka in their home

The Stankovics have no income. They say that there is no work for Serbs in Tuzla, because no one wants to employ them. Sometimes, some of their Muslims neighbors ask Dragan to do some work, and then he has a chance to earn a daily wage, which is often their only income. Dragan has applied for different jobs many times, but he was never able to get one because he is a Serb. The village has no city transport, medical clinic, grocery store, so the remaining Serbian families are cut off from Tuzla.

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The family had a cow up to recently, but it died. They were able to sell the milk and thus provide basic living conditions for their children and family. They have pigs and chickens, and 1.5 ha of land, part of which they use for gardening, hay and so on.

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Organization SERBS FOR SERBS is starting the action of collecting the necessary funds in order to help the Stankovic family with purchasing a cow for the needs of their household, and also for supporting the family by selling milk.

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