By Capt. Vance White
First published in
SFOR Informer#124, October 17, 2001
In late September, the teacher and students at
Jovan Ducic Skola (school) in Kuljani, near Banja Luka, accepted
a gift of much-needed supplies from New Zealand Army Maj. Don
Bulmer. The supplies were collected by and presented on behalf
of the students at Karori Normal School in Wellington, New Zealand.
Kuljani - Maj. Bulmer is a Civil-Military Co-operation
projects officer serving in SFOR at its Multinational Division
Southwest (MND-SW) headquarters in Banja Luka.
"Most of the supplies at the school have been donated through
NATO soldiers," said Mrs. Gordana Erceg, the school's teacher.
"The supplies given to us allow me to teach with dignity
again," continued Erceg, who has been teaching for 31 years.
Commander Carl Nixon, who filled Bulmer's position in Bosnia and
Herzegovina (BiH) until about seven months ago and whose children
attended Karori Normal School, started the important initiative
about a year ago. Students at Karori Normal School have sent other
supplies in the past. The Bosnian students put the first shipment
received in spring 2001 to good use. The new boxes of supplies
will help greatly as the new school year has recently begun and
few supplies are made available locally.
Erceg is the only teacher in the rundown building. She teaches
a combined class of 20 Grade One and Two students made up of eight
boys and 12 girls. "I hope to keep in contact with the New
Zealand school," she said. "We are too poor to go see
other countries. The kids are lucky to have the world come to
The Bosnian and New Zealand students have exchanged drawings by
mail. The eight and nine year-old kids had more drawings for Bulmer
to send back to the school in Karori. "Kids are the same
wherever you go," said Bulmer. "It's great to see them
smiling and laughing despite the hardships they've been through."
Related links: Humanitarian