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German CIMIC paves the way to school

By Airman Christophe Lehmann
First published in
SFOR Informer #70, 15 Sept, 1999.

Hasanovici - For years, dozens of children from the villages of Hasanovici and Bulatovici have to walk kilometres on very difficult roads every morning and afternoon to go and come back from school. All of that because their own schools in their villages are completely destroyed. Rescently, the DFGFA (German and French Battle Group) came up with a reconstruction project for these schools. "It was in fact my predecessor who spotted the situation first before leaving the theatre. I just built the project in order to follow up on the work he was doing," explained Sgt Maj Reiner Nosseck, of the CIMIC team of the DFGFA.

A lot of work has been necessary to for the school of Hasanovici. It was really in ruins. The inside and outside walls have been consolidated, the roof, floor, doors and windows have been completely changed. Ten German soldiers belonging to various platoons of the DFGFA have been working on this project for more than five weeks. "It was more a collaboration between the soldiers and the population of the village than us doing the work alone, as the locals have really been working hard during all the work," said Sgt Maj Helmut Schramm, in charge of the team. "We spent five really good weeks here," he added.

On 6 September Brigadier General Johann Berger, Commander of the Brigade Centre, inaugurated the renovated school, symbolically handing over the keys to the teacher. But he and the men who came with him did not come empty handed, bringing pens, books, chalk, exercise books, teddy bears and other treats to the children.

The case of the school of Bulatovici is slightly different, as a budget problem slowed the work down. Brig. Gen. Berger went there as well, and a commemoration plaque made to thank DFGFA for its CIMIC action was revealed, followed by a big lunch given by the local.

All together, these projects cost 20.000 DM and have allowed around 40 children to go to school in their own villages instead of having to walk miles through the hills in all kinds of weather to receive instruction.