FENIX: Dignity and Partaking for all People in Bosnia

FENIX has made it its mission to give the people of Sanski Most their dignity back and partake in their lives. They support exemplary, regardless of ethnic affiliation and in partnership in acute emergencies, during pregnancy, at birth, in early childhood and old age.

In the early 1990s, Bosnia-Herzegovina was in the middle of worldwide public and political attention due to war. The attention has faded, but many years after the battle, the aftermath of war are still noticeable for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, trauma and suffering through shattered families have remained. Social connections are often destroyed, because family members fled and are scattered across the world. Remaining people are often those without perspectives old, poor, sick and in need of care mostly without relatives – in a society where family self-help is an important pillar of social protection.

If a visitor enters – regardless of origin or age – the project grounds, she or he will feel like s/he is on an island, on which s/he is welcomed at any time. Noticeable that here – in the middle of a split state – a good cohabitation is visible and noticeable through sustainable help that is offered.

FENIX offers extensive support services

Next to the entrance there is the dining hall, in which either lunch food is prepared fervently, TV watched or at meal times no free seat is to be found and animated discussions are taking place – here the poor, especially the elderly receive their daily meal and often also the attention that makes a secluded life easier. As a consequence of the war many elderly people are left on their own. Poverty, sickness, need for care and loneliness are part of their daily lives. But also fellow citizens are dependent on help as through the high rate of unemployment and overall difficult social situations many people are in need of help "People are often living without any income in terrible situations, that cannot be imagined by us: no heaters, no medical care, no accommodations-nothing and the relatives are somewhere abroad" reports Claus Bulling.

A nursing home has also been developed that is an example in Bosnia and economically independent of the social project that has places for those in need, whose family cannot pay and follows the same values.

Unique in Bosnia is the holistic assistance and monitoring of mothers and children. It is important to FENIX to assist women and families through pregnancies, birth and the first sensitive years of a child. FENIX strengthens confidence and self-initiative of women though individual counseling, courses and home visits. The fathers are always included in these trainings. Through this FENIX becomes an island of exemplary handling of pregnancies, birth and family in a society where the old models of medical care seem to have no alternatives.

In its seminar rooms FENIX offers skill enhancements on the note, for people who work in health related fields. A sequence of seminars to further educate midwifes and nurses is run in close cooperation with the technical college woman and health (Switzerland) to further educate personnel of the clinic, improve and revalue the work of the midwife and to humanize the birthing assistance.

Unfortunately the state – though many attempts by FENIX – does not take responsibility in the area of health.

In the house there is also a children’s group called "Butterfly" here the children have a safe place to live and experience a multi-generation house.

FENIXs biological garden project

The gardens are an important resource for the economical needs and the kitchen of the house, but like everything here, it is also a model for another life an interaction with nature. Disabled, elderly, volunteers, buyers and visitors come by or help out. At the edge of fields and greenhouses one or another conversations about ecological crop growing, the weather or life are held. Since 2003 FENIX has been using the green lands around the center for agriculture, there area covers 9,200 m2. Production includes potatoes, onions, cabbage and carrots, there are 90 fruit trees and in additional greenhouses tomatoes and bell peppers are harvested. The organic produce produced is used in the kitchen for the elderly and the excess is sold at the local market. Therefore this garden for production self-sufficiency, employment possibility is a model for environmentally friendly agriculture.

FENIX an Island of Hope

Therefore, FENIX is an island of hope in many ways. The association works independent from ethnic and religious background of the people in need. Muslim Bosnians are helped the same as catholic Croats or orthodox Serbs. "The goal of FENIX is the living together of all inhabitant groups to be designed into a pre-war state." Claus Bulling emphasizes. FENIX engages itself for the individual, the equality of the sexes and for warmth and love in family life, ecological economics, humanitarian health system and a society were every person has dignity and is welcomed.

We from the schwelle are glad to be a part of this model with contributions of money, advice and friendship.


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