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German CIMIC in Breza

By Sgt. William Wilczewski
First published in
SFOR Informer #80, February 2, 2000

Breza - One goal of Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC) projects in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) is to enhance the economic growth of local communities. Another is to rebuild them. German Capt. Ralph Breiltgens, commander of all German (GE) CIMIC activities in and around Breza, 20 km north of Sarajevo, is happy to say that those goals are being accomplished.

Also happy are the locals who have seen evidence of the unit's hard work. "In some areas you can see that something is happening," said Vahid Smajic, a local construction worker employed on housing project no. 11 in Rajlovac. "Here in this area, everything was destroyed and broke down, but I can really see that a lot of changes have happened. Things are going forward - not fast enough, but they're going forward." Smajic, who was unemployed before this project arose, worked as a salesman prior to the war. "This opportunity has helped me to survive now and end some of my suffering." Project 11 is funded by the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Inter Mission Munich (IMM) and CARITAS. He is one of 28 on a list of single parents whose homes were destroyed and whose spouses died due to the war. Project no. 11 began a month ago and is expected to be completed by the end of February.

"I would like to thank the donators and all those who are helping us rebuild and survive," said Smajic. "We are very thankful and grateful." Along with ongoing projects, the GE CIMIC has others planned for the near future. An example of those is the roof renovation of the Albaner House Apartment Complex in downtown Breza. According to 77-year-old Dsman Ramic, a resident of the complex for 28 years, rain and snow causes water to leak into his apartment, destroying much of his property and leaving a mouldy odour. "With the help of God, we will cope with the circumstances," said Ramic. According to Breiltgens, the GE CIMIC team is continuing to do all they can to improve those circumstances so the locals in Breza will not have to cope. Instead, he hopes through his team's efforts, they can regain some sense of normality in their lives.
Related links: Germany