medex mine awareness camp for children   medex mine awareness camp for children  

Mine Awareness for Children

Visited the Medex Mine Awareness Summer Camp on Wednesday, August 21 1997. Sida support for supplementary food to hold the camps that last for six days for each group of kids. Basic food items, bean, flour and oil, are donated by WFP. Medex receive support from ICRC to cover other base costs for the organisation, such as rent for a house in Novi Travnik. 

Medex have had 800 children attend since the first of April. The camp is located in the mountains between Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf. A main building can house 30 children, and there are tents for another 30. 

There were 30 children this week at the camp, aged 9-15, all from elementary schools from Gornji Vakuf. Orphans after the fall of Srebrenica living in Vogosca will come next week. Medex has discussed with OSCE and UNHCR to include children from Republika Srpska as well, something they hope will be possible after the elections. 

The children have daily activities, which focus on mine awareness and first aid, but camp activities include sport and outings in the woods as well. There is a disco in a tent on the campsite. All children have to help with cleaningand dish washing.

  medex mine awareness camp for children 
 The main building. It belongs to a cow farm, which may close its operation this fall. They have 24 cows and ten employees and can not compete with imported milk from Slovenia.
  Children who have been injured by mines are sometimes included in the groups. To make children aware of the mine danger, two things need to be told to the kids. The first is to answer their questions about mines to reduce their exploratory interest in mines, secondly that it is stupid to handle mines and Unexploded ordinance (UXOs), not a sign of courage and braveness. Children hurt by mines or UXOs know very well what they are, but do not believe they will get hurt.   
The head of Medex, Mr Adem, said that the best effect to deter kids to handle mines and UXOs comes from having mine injured kids take part in the camps. These kids, with a missing leg, arm or eye, are open about their injuries and do not mind to be used as examples.
The camp is booked until mid September when the school starts. The Ministry of Education permits Medex to enrol school kids even during the school semesters. The camps are very popular among the kids, who do not want to leave.
Björn Mösberg
Sarajevo, August 22, 1997  
Embassy of Sweden



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