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From the far end of the world

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.
Wing 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 us."
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 Aid
New Zealand