The European Union is a strategic partner of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the elimination of anti-personnel landmines, continuously providing assistance and rehabilitation to land mine victims. So far, the European Union has invested more than 46 million euros to helping the country eliminate the threat of landmines and promoting inclusive policies for persons with disabilities, including mine victims and their families.
Despite the threat of mine risk, and due to poor economic circumstances, citizens across the country often risk their lives entering into affected areas for scrap metal collection or wood cutting. The sustained efforts of the European Union and local partners aim to provide sustainable solutions for the most endangered categories so they and their families can improve their living conditions.
“This is the only serious project so far that has responded to our needs. This project encouraged me to believe in myself and to ease my financial situation. With a donated cultivator I can engage in agriculture and provide for my family”, said Boro Radišković, who sustained injuries while entering an unmarked mine-infested area.
Through numerous EU-funded projects, 350 landmine victims and family members have received assistance to the creation of small businesses in 30 municipalities across the country, thus contributing to their social welfare, as well as supporting the country’s economy.
“Significant assistance was provided to support landmine victims and persons with disabilities, which is exactly what this project is about – we create better living conditions for mine victims and their families, but also work on social policies to ensure minimum social rights for the most vulnerable,“ said Ginaluca Vannini, Head of Operations Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation in the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Presentation of concrete results of the EU funded project “To earn, not to get”, held today in Sarajevo, highlighted the fact that 101 mine victims received training in business idea development, while 69 of them received small business grants. The project, worth 403,000 euros, represents the continuation of support to improve the lives of the most vulnerable categories across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Noting that coordinated efforts of responsible ministries, cantonal and local government units are needed in the implementation of policies for prevention of future incidents and for improvement of employment possibilities for persons with disabilities, the conference participants agreed that future engagement requires a high level of commitment from all relevant parties.