PROJECT 1 UPDATE
As well as the new proposals for GFL we continue the great work at Vladimir Nazor Centre. Just prior to Christmas 2023, I spent a few days in Bosnia Herzegovina completing Childrens' eye-screening and checking state of play on other ongoing projects. You may recall the school has 300 intellectually challenged primary school aged children and the sister school with one hundred similarly challenged in the kindergarten.
In previous updates it has been reported of the difficulties working with the management team which have caused much anxiety for all concerned at the centre. I have extended my sincere thanks to Lion Edina Husejnovic for sticking with the project and wanting so much to see it through.
Due to the success of the foreign currency conversion many of the items on the shopping list have been purchased. We have a shortfall of approx 14,000 euros to complete the kitchen - see plans for the work left to do.
The newly acquired whiteboard computers and laptops have made a huge difference to both teaching and learning. Armin Algic continues to be a great source of support and
he knew that one of his friends, who has a local business specialising in the refurbishment of technological equipment, was nearby to the school. He has supplied Gift for Living on a number of occasions with refurbished laptops for use with the blind. Ten laptops supplied in Tuzla and another ten to the Vladimir centre. The software
that was added to laptops has enabled blind or visually impaired children to join the world of technology.
Our visit proved to be an amazing coincidence and turned out to be an opportunity not to be missed. The visit to the local business astounded me as he had just purchased 7 computerised white boards (even more astounding was there are seven classrooms needing some form of equipment)). The German Government had seized equipment from a company that they had closed, the
equipment included 7 large whiteboards as you can see below and 25 laptops which they were willing to sell at hugely discounted prices. We negotiated and agreed the final price for the equipment.
I acknowledge the great support, as ever, from Lion Armin Algic.
As you can see from the images the equipment funded by GFL is now in place at the school and everyone is benefiting from its instalment. Yet again something that GFL has achieved with your help.
Some of the IT equipment has had a huge impact on those children with severe disabilities who can only lay on the floor at home and using the new laptops can now look at the images on screen via the new computer equipment.
The computerised woodwork machinery has made a huge impact and the wax candle burner has allowed the children to make candles which the school sells. The new kitchen is almost complete thanks to a number of donors. No more rats or rat holes and the children are being taught to cook and how to bake. With the arrival of new sanitary ware the impact is overwhelming.
The new kitchen is almost complete thanks to a number of donors. No more rats or rat holes and the children are being taught to cook and how to bake. With the arrival of new sanitary ware the impact is overwhelming.
LCIF have supported the rebuilding of this kitchen. As has happened worldwide the building work has almost doubled in cost which has meant a huge step backwards. However because of the importance for the health of the children the Government has stepped up to undertake the responsibility of the construction. Both the Government and local Government has now stepped up with financial assistance towards the project.
We would like to offer our sincere thanks for the most generous personal donation made to the GFL project specifically to benefit the children of the Vladimir Nazor School from a member of a previous council.
Implementation and Certification of HACCP.
To obtain HACCP certification of the kitchen and all kitchen staff recognised as HACCP training - we need to spend an additional 14,000 euros. We currently have a level C pass and the additional purchases when we can raise the 14,000 euro shortfall will enable us to obtain a category A certification.
It is hoped that work will be complete and the kitchen open in April 2024 when it will be providing hot meals for 400 children and at other times the kitchen will be used as a training facility teaching children the basics of self-sufficiency.
You can clearly see from the images how much the kitchen has changed to become a fully functioning kitchen capable of feeding the children at the centre. The plaques (right) will be attached to the building to thank all of those responsible for helping with this project once it is completed.
GFL Eye Screening
As an aside and as a wonderful example of the synergy of our work at the centre, during my last visit we took the opportunity to complete eye- screening of the children at the centre. 50% of them were found to have significant vision impairments. This finding is a crucial reminder of the importance of regular and comprehensive health screenings in special education health settings. For children with severe intellectual disabilities vision problems can significantly impact both their learning and daily life
and yet these issues often go unnoticed due to communication barriers or an assumption that behavioral or learning difficulties are solely due to their intellectual disability.
As we continue our work to support the unique needs of these children the vision screening serves as a powerful reminder to educators, healthcare professionals and policy makers about the essential role of holistic care in special education.
My fervent hope is that these findings act as a catalyst for change prompting schools, communities and healthcare systems to priorities and improve the quality of vision care provided to children with severe intellectual disabilities. This is not just a question of seeing better; it's about giving these children a better chance to thrive in every aspect of their lives. (see the selection of photos below)
PROJECT 2 UPDATES
There is currently a Trust operating, (Shield of Faith Community Empowerment), in the area that was set up by a totally dedicated young Lion who was himself an orphan and adopted.There is currently a Trust operating, (Shield of Faith Community Empowerment), in the area that was set up by a totally dedicated young Lion who was himself an orphan and adopted.
There are currently 40 children aged 4-16 years who are cared for by the Trust and it's volunteers and these young adults are educated and taught a trade, until age 18. Amongst the challenges faced by the orphans include poverty, domestic violence, child labour and child abuse.
As alluded to, the current Trust is struggling for the money (and requirements) to continue to operate and, I repeat, the orphans are at risk of being evicted onto the street - for the girls this can only lead to a life of prostitution at best, human trafficking at worse.
Through your charity, Lions Clubs International - 'A Gift for Living' we would receive donations and administer the sponsorship programme. Whilst it would be a new route for GFL the Trustees have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to successfully deliver.
Lions have always believed in 'Answering the Call to Serve' and in this area the call is great. It would take 40 US Dollars a month to feed, cloth, provide medication and educate a child even to provide training so that they may leave with a skill. Yes, it is a commitment, but sponsorship can provide a child/young adult with a better start in life - to be educated and provide some hope for a future.
There is a distinct possibility that the Lions of USA and Canada are likely to be joining us in support of this programme. All efforts will be channeled through Gift for Living.
PROJECT 3 - SUPPORTING THE LIONS CLUB OF SARAJEVO CENTAR AND THE LIONS OF BOSNIA
The project is attempting to establish a system for monitoring the early and late consequences of the treatment of cancer in predominately children and the prevention of new malignant diseases in children and young people who were treated for malignant diseases in childhood. Your Gift for Living Project donated 1000 euros towards this project and the intention is to approach LCIF to become part of a bigger project.
An evening of celebration was hosted by The Lions Club Sarajevo Centar and whilst attending the event we were introduced to an organisation that is providing networking and individual support to those that have survived cancer. It is hoped that we will be able to help this to grow internationally. About 51,955 KM (approx. 26,000 euros) was collected through donations, tickets and the auction on the night. The project will need approx. 100,000 euros to implement.
The collected funds will be directed to the initial steps of the implementation of the above mentioned project, which includes the establishment of co-operation with the University Clinical Centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia and the training of the professional staff of the Clinical Centre of the University of Sarajevo under their supervision.
At the celebrations of 20 years supporting projects in Sarajevo was honored to be joined by the Prime Minster of the Canton of Sarrejevo Nihad UK.
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