New project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Ušivac refugee camp outside Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina houses around 750 displaced persons. The conditions are harsh, and the camp population consists mainly of families with small children and unaccompanied minors. A Drop in the Ocean established a presence in the camp last year and now offers computer courses in addition to distributions.

Datakurs i Bosnia-Hercegovina
Foto/Photo: Dråpen i Havet

The goal of the computer project is to provide residents with basic computer skills. A Drop in the Ocean offers courses at basic, intermediate and advanced levels, covering everything from how to set up and send emails to functions and use of the Office suite. 

Over the past few days, 35 camp residents have participated in the courses – 5 adult men and 30 unaccompanied minors. An increasing number of children have also attended our activities for children in the camp. The courses take place in two containers equipped with computers and other material. Participants are given notebooks and pens, as well as face masks and disinfectants. 

“Of course, we also have water and biscuits for everyone, especially the youngest,” says our Operations Coordinator Jasmina. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered a transit country that many travel through on their way to the EU and other European countries. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 55 000 displaced persons have used this route in recent years. At any given time, there are around 8500 refugees and other migrants in the country, whose goal is to cross the border into Croatia and the rest of Europe.

A Drop in the Ocean’s Operations Coordinator Jasmina in the Ušivac camp outside Sarajevo. Photo: A Drop in the Ocean

The capacity of the camps is stretched, and several thousand displaced persons live outside the official camps – in the forest, abandoned buildings and other public spaces. At the same time, the number of irregular arrivals continue to rise. According to the UNCHR, 1269 refugees and other migrants arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina in March alone, including 24 unaccompanied minors. 

“With the computer project, A Drop in the Ocean gives camp residents and opportunity to learn and acquire useful knowledge for the future,” says Jasmina.

“I am especially pleased that a large number of parents have recognised in us a great desire to help their children, in order to brighten up their day in these difficult times.”

A Drop in the Ocean took a first step towards establishing a presence in the country in December last year, when we assisted in a distribution of face masks, blankets, hygiene items and some toys to residents in Ušivac camp. Since then, we have collaborated with the IOM and the organisation World Vision on other distributions. 

The needs are also many in the north western parts of the country, and in January we collaborated with the Red Cross on a distribution of 1000 sleeping bags in the Lipa refugee camp close to the city Bihac. A Drop in the Ocean is now working to contribute even more in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

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