Abid Hadzic and his family live on the slopes of the mountain Vlasic in picturesque village Maline in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina. People there mostly live off the land, farming and raising cattle. The family produces food for own consumption, however, since most people in Maline and the surroundings own farmland, there is no demand for the surplus, and Hadzic's always struggle for money. For them, life in Maline becomes difficult when they need money to purchase items they cannot produce, such as clothes, school supplies and other non-food items.
„One can live off the land, but you must work hard“, says Abid.
For the Hadzic family life became even more difficult in 2003 when the father of the family, Abid, lost a leg in a landmine accident. Abid and seven of his family members were traversing the mountain, collecting medicinal herbs that they would attempt to sell for income when the accident happened. Abid claims that the area was not marked as mine hazardous area, as this was not the first time they were walking this path. Thus it was a great shock to realize that they had activated a landmine that remained there 8 years after the war. It took them three hours to reach the nearest hospital in the town of Travnik. Abid was conscious the entire time, thinking about his family, wife Zuhreta and their three-year-old son.
„First thoughts are about your family. You know the life was difficult before, and what do we do now“, says Abid.
Abid is one of the 1.758 people who were injured by mines and explosive remnants after the war. Mines pose threat to people until the moment they are detected, removed and destroyed. Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center (BHMAC) forecasted that around 80.000 landmines and explosive remnants of the war still have to be cleared in BiH.
Recently, the family received support through the „Integrated socio-economic support to landmine victims in BiH“ project implemented by World Vision in partnership with the Organization of Amputees UDAS, which is financed by the European Union. The goal of the project is to provide economic and social support for 200 landmine victims and their families in BiH and to make the landmine survivors’ abilities and needs more visible to their community. Abid received a moto - cultivator and a tiller. Soon after, with the idea of maximizing the use of the equipment he received, Abid purchased a trailer that can be towed by the motor cultivator.
„Immediately I started working and have already stored the wood for the winter, which is crucial in the winter. I also transported hay for the cows. If these are the only two activities I would do with the trailer and the motor cultivator I received, I would still be in a good starting position“, says Abid.
Village Maline is in Travnik Municipality which is one of eleven mine-affected municipalities that co-financed the project. „Thanks to the project, the needs of survivors of mine accidents in our municipality are now visible. This project addressed some of their challenges – they received economic support and are have capacities to further support other survivors in recovery and integration through peer to peer interaction. The staff at the Centre for Mental health capacities have been trained and made aware to respond to the needs of amputees“, says Amira Djelilbasic, assistant to the Mayor of Travnik for development, economy and non-economic issues.
The 3 members of family Hadzic are all hard-working. They keep livestock. They raise cows, sheep and chicken for meat, dairy products, and eggs, and they farm their land. Farming itself doesn't bring the much needed income for Hadzic family and Abid and his wife Zuhreta are ready to accept any manual assignment that will bring some additional earning even if modestly rewarded. The two of them take care of the village mosque and make sure it is neat and clean.
Abid is a civilian victim of war with disability of 60 %. Respective entity ministry provides him with a disability allowance of 205 KM (102,5 EUR) a month, which is half of a minimum salary in the country. But he does not give up or rely only on his disability allowance; he continues fighting for a better life for him and his family. „You must make your peace with it, when you have a child and wife at home, you must provide for them“, says Abid.
By Nejra Naltez