By Sgt. Kerensa Hardy
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001
Breza There were smiles all around as far as the
eye could see as the children climbed on, in and through the structure
made for them by a few SFOR soldiers.
On May 26, parents, staff and friends of the approximately 60
students who attend the Breza Kindergarten said a warm thank-you
to those who worked hard to add a little joy to the lives of the
German Sgt. Maj. Martin Malkmus and Irish Regimental Sgt. Maj.
Bernard Weldon spearheaded the project that culminated in the
building of a jungle gym of sorts for little ones in Breza.
The playground equipment came from a German barracks that was
to accommodate refugees from KFOR.
The refugees did not arrive, Malkmus said. So the idea was,
if the refugees dont arrive we could move the playground (here).
Various SFOR troops donated money to pay for food and materials
that would later be used to paint the jungle gym the countrys
colours yellow and blue. The gym was driven from Germany to
Camp Butmir in February. It was put together and painted at the
camp by Irish, German and American volunteers. It was finally
put in place about two weeks ago.
said the idea to help this little school in Breza came from Nina
Sarajcic, a local civilian who works at the German PX on Camp
Butmir. Often many outside countries and organisations focus on
providing financial aid or other assistance to Sarajevo or other
major areas in BiH and the little places are forgotten, she
I live in Ilidza and I know that in all the places around Sarajevo
nobody helps only sometimes, Sarajcic said. She said she heard
of the day care centre and of all the problems the it encountered,
she and Malkmus agreed that it would be good to help them.
Both Catholic and Muslim children attend this kindergarten, one
of the things that Malkmus said he liked about it. This was the
important thing helping them all, he said.
The workers at the kindergarten have not been paid in the last
15 months, yet they are faithful in nurturing and providing tender
loving care to these young minds.
I volunteered to paint because I enjoy keeping busy and I love
doing good things for others, said US Navy Petty Officer Michelle
Natividad. The children only had grass to play on and now with
this new playground, they have a reason to go and enjoy the summer
and play with other children.
I was very pleased to see the smiles of the children and the
excitement in their eyes when the playground was up and running.
Related link: Humanitarian