By 1st Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer#112, May 3, 2001
Foca - Mines do not discriminate, not even when
it comes to the youngest person. Every year, several children
in BiH become casualties of land mines. Therefore, German De-mining
Monitors have made mine awareness for children a priority task.
My name is Peter," said Master Sgt. Wolfram Gruschler. His
audience of children waited patiently for the translation, staring
at the display of land mines in front of them. Some of them pointed
One by one the mines were shown, every time with the same conclusion:
"If you step on it or try to touch it, it will blow up."
Those are hard facts for children who face a hard reality; they
cannot play wherever. Playgrounds are restricted to a few places
where the de-miners have been and childhood curiosity may cost
them their lives.
"To make kids mine aware is a job I feel is very important.
Most of them are very interested and eager to learn. We get a
lot of questions," Gruschler said with a smile.
German De-mining Monitors consist of four teams that monitor de-mining
activities by the Armed Forces in BiH in Multinational Division
- Southeast. Every 20 days they get five days off. They dedicate
these five days to children.
"We already had mine awareness for children in two schools
in Sarajevo. When we visited this school in Foca, a total of 3,500
children attended our programme," said Warrant Officer 2
With support from the SFOR Mine Information Co-ordination Cell
(MICC) and SFOR Information Campaign Branch (ICB), they put together
a programme and material which is very mobile. One truck is all
they need and, of course, an audience of children.
have three stations: one slide presentation with a video, made
in both alphabets (Cyrillic and Latin); one static display with
mines, signs and games where the children can win prizes provided
by ICB and one display outside where they can see what mines and
minefields look like," Breuer said.
The children are certainly not allowed to touch any of the items.
They are taught not to play anywhere where there are mines. The
German De-mining Monitors teams also have different lectures for
the different ages.
"We use different words for the smaller children and show
them a different video. This programme is designed to teach mine
awareness to children, as well as soldiers, within minutes. The
special mobile kit we have consists of everything we need including
TV, video, laptop and fake mines," Gruschler said.
The ministries of education both in Republika Srpska and Federation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina have approved the programme.
One of these days, children may play safely wherever they want.
Engineering - Mines
Nations of SFOR: Germany