Bosnia and Herzegovina, is there a Future?
Emina Saletovic is only in the 10th grade but she already knows how important it is that she completes her education. Emina is a hard-working student with exceptional behavior, but it is nearly impossible for her family to pay for her education. Her parents are divorced and her mother has been diagnosed with epilepsy, leaving her and her brother to care for their mother. Emina is one of the many young students at Behram-begova Medresa in Bosnia, that Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) supports through our Education & Skill Training Program.
Emina’s story is one that is common in Bosnia. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that was completely ravaged during a four-year war, from 1992 to 1995. The war centered on whether Bosnia should stay in the Yugoslav Federation, or whether it should become independent. Fighting quickly broke out among the country’s three ethnic groups: Croats, Serbs, and Muslims in Bosnia. Mounting evidence showed that some Serbs were engaged in “ethnic cleansing,” a contemporary phrase for genocide, killing thousands of Muslims.
In Sarajevo, the capital and largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city was put under siege for 43 months, cutting residents off from supply of food, utilities and communication. Thousands of people died, including over 1,500 children.
Bosnia is now an independent state but the war left the country’s infrastructure and economy in ruins. The country is now one of the poorest in Europe and many people lack access to basic services such as safe drinking water.
ZF is working to educate young men and women in Bosnia in order to make it possible for them to earn a living for themselves and their families, despite the country’s economy.
In Tuzla, a city in northeast Bosnia that underwent massacre during the Bosnian war, ZF is supporting students at the Behram-begova Medresa. The Islamic boarding high school was established in 1626 and has 521 students: 266 boys and 255 girls.
Through its funding, ZF is able to support the education, room and boarding for students at the high school.