MLI's Educational Programs Director, Anne Wooleyhand, traveled to Bosnia-Herzegovina at the beginning of November. Thanks to generous funding from the United States Department of State, MLI and our partner the Mine Detection Dog Center of Bosnia-Herzgovina provide the CHAMPS (Children Against Mines Program) to connect young people in Bosnia and the United States. Students in both countries learn about the humanitarian impact of landmines and collaborate to take positive action with a focus on mine risk education as well as fundraising for mine detection dogs and survivors' assistance.
The travel itinerary included a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo @USEmbassySJJ to discuss program successes and future goals. The CHAMPS program has connected hundreds of youth in Bosnia and the United States over the years, and these youth have raised awareness, educated others, supported landmine survivors, and sponsored mine detection dogs to sniff out landmines in Bosnia-Herzgovina.
While in Bosnia, Anne joined Marija Trlin of the MDDC for a student tour of Otto Bock Adria prosthetic center in Sarajevo. Through the tour, the students the Bosnian students learned how prosthetics are made and how technology is utilized to support landmine survivors and those in need of prosthetics. The students were moved by the tour and presentation, and it was an honor to meet Vlado (technician at Otto Bock) and Azra (teacher).
Marija and Anne also visited Prva Osnovna Skola in Ilidza where Marija presented a mine risk education session for over 60 students and their teachers. The students learned important safety practices to avoid mine-related injuries.
Students from the United States virtually connected with their Bonsian peers during their visit to the prosthetic center and heard about their experiences at Otto Bock. U.S. students participated in a virtual tour of the facility in January and shared their mutual experience with the other student group. Both groups of students enjoyed singing and sharing cultural celebrations for this time of year.
Anne had the opportunity to visit K9 Ambassador Rico's former handler at the FACP (Federation of Civil Protection). Rico now lives with Anne and travels around the United States raising awareness of the landmine issue. Kenan, Rico's former handler for six years, accepted the newly published book, Rico Cosby: The Heroic Work of a Mine Detection Dog about Rico's journey from puppy-hood to his work as a mine detection dog and on to becoming MLI's K9 Ambassador. Following the presentation of the book, Anne and Marija were able to meet Kenan's new dog, MDD Niles, generously donated by the Niles Foundation.
The final stop for the itinerary was to Mak Dizdar School in Sarajevo to visit CHAMPS teacher, Larisa and the administration at the school. Larisa has been a dedicated CHAMPS teacher for years, and her administration is very supportive of the program.
A trip to Bosnia would not be complete without some tourist stops around the beautiful City of Sarajevo. Check out Anne's photos below to see all the sites she was able to visit along her journey:
Trebevic Mountain - One of the 1984 Olympic Mountains in Sarajevo. The views of this beautiful city are breathtaking.
The War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo - A collection of items donated by children of the Bosnian War.
Great Park - Monument dedicated to children killed in the period from 1992-1995, Sculpture Nermin showing Father Rama calling his son, Nermin to surrender, hoping that Serbian soldiers will not hurt them, and scrolls with names of all children killed during the period from 1992-1995.
The city of Sarajevo is rich in culture! - City Hall, Chevapcici, and one of two hundred "Bosnian Roses" - marking the spot where bombs were dropped during the Bosnian War in remembrance of those lost to the explosion.