By Capt. Vance White
with files from Lt. Tom Edwards
First published in
SFOR Informerr#127, November 28, 2001
Teachers, students and parents in Bosanska Gradiska
see the benefits of co-operation between the Municipality, Republika
Srpska (RS) Government, the Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA) and SFOR as much needed renovations to Danilo Borkovic
School nears completion.
Bosanska Gradiska - Sgt. Mike Ryan, the Project
Officer at the UK BG Civilian-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) representative
in Bosanska Gradiska, has been hard at work co-ordinating this
project which has delivered significant building improvements
for the school. They include repairing masonry, replacing external
doors and windows, gutters and down pipes, painting and even installing
a new fire alarm system.
A criterion of the CIDA programme is to encourage the local beneficiary
to contribute monies as well. The RS Minister for Education committed
more than 39,000 KM to paint and to improve classroom flooring,
while the CIDA programme provided more than 68,000 KM.
the work almost completed, teachers, student and parents are taking
an active role in the school. In fact, in one grade 2 classroom,
parents have agreed to provide their own money to purchase desks.
The children will stay in the same classroom for at least two
years, so the parents know that their children will continue to
receive the benefits of their personal donations. Parents are
also donating their time to paint murals on classroom walls, under
the direction of the art teacher, to personalise areas of the
"A mutual trust is being built between the school and the
parents," said the school's Headmaster, Mr. Milos Francuz,
who agreed that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be rebuilt by its
youth. "A lot can be achieved with this new relationship."
Such an initiative is very important, especially in this multi-ethnic
school that has students and teachers from Bosnian-Serb, Bosnian-Croat
and Bosniac backgrounds. About 75 of the 800 students (aged 7-15)
are from ethnic minority families.
is very encouraging to see the school working for the future of
the country by providing a nice school and good environment,"
said Maj. Gen. Tonie Van Diepenbrugge, Commander MND(SW), during
a recent visit. "The school is making a difference by focusing
on the youth in BiH, not on religious backgrounds."
The project has given the school a new lease on life. Staff and
students alike are proud of the new school. With the improved
facilities and as families return to the area, the school expects
an increase in the number of enrolments for the next school year.
The current work continues, a refurbishment project previously
undertaken with a 17,000 KM contribution from the municipality
and local businesses. In past years, the school had suffered considerable
deterioration due to a lack of maintenance. To ensure the school
maintains its new look and that the work wasn't completed in vain,
the next step is to replace the roof and take steps to control
graffiti and vandalism of the school premises by the surrounding
residents. That way the students will continue to receive education
in an environment they are entitled to enjoy.
Nations of SFOR: UK