SOS Children's Villages arrived in Mojmilo, a suburb of Sarajevo two years after the breakup of Yugoslavia, in 1998. Our work has increased over the years due to the poor economic situation in the city brought on by the brutal civil war that took a cosmopolitan city and put many of its residents into extreme poverty.
Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina. Home of the 1984 Winter Olympics, the city was once bustling and cosmopolitan.
Local infrastracture destroyed by war
When war broke out the city was the centre of heavy fighting, which destroyed much of the social fabric of the city as well as the physical infrastructure.
The centre of heavy fighting during the breakup of Yugoslavia, much of its public infrastructure has been destroyed - even the sewerage system has had to be rebuilt. With such programmes under way, the city is emerging from its dark past.
Due to the deep social divisions sewn by the war, the social fabric of the city is also in recovery. Though the city's economy is growing there are still a lot of cases of extreme poverty in Sarajevo, and families suffer under the strain.
Children are forced to go it alone at an early age
With the economic situation, children are often forced to fend for themselves when families break apart under the strain. Many adults and young people were traumatised with what they saw in the war and the deep divisions in society that have emerged as a result of the conflict.
We are needed to intervene to help families stay together
SOS Children's Village Mojmilo works with local authorities to prevent family break up. In keeping families together so we hope to ensure that children live with their families until they become adults.
Another element of this programme is aimed at helping children develop emotional and social skills through playing with each other. We enable this to happen in day care centres, where parents drop their children while they go to work. As the children grow up we give them guidance as they emerge into adulthood.
What we do in Sarajevo
During the war, we worked in Sarajevo to provide aid to children and young people. We had a counselling centre and youth club to help them get over what they had seen. When the fighting got too intense in the area, this had to stop, but on our return in 1998 we offered more permanent programmes.
The SOS family strengthening programme was started to ensure families stay together. It offers workshops, counselling and psychological support. We organise activities for participating families, aimed at the needs they have identified.
Children play and develop
Our SOS social centre also reaches out to children between the ages of 3 and 19, offering a safe place for educational and social development. We have a nursery and play groups for the younger children, as well as running a Play Bus to reach out to communities farther away from our Mojmilo base.
Children still find themselves alone having been abandoned by their parents. The SOS Children's Village in Mojmilo has 16 SOS families with a capacity for over 100 children, lovingly cared for by SOS Mothers. As they grow up, young people can move into specialised shared, supported accommodation while they attend further education or vocational training as we guide them to independence as young adults.
Become a child sponsor and help build a brighter future for a child at SOS Children's Village in Sarajevo.