A golden Heart

2Lt. Agustín López Marín
First published May 19, 2003

On May 6, members of the CIMIC unit and the Service Combat Support Troop, belonging to the Spanish French Battle Group (SPFR BG), delivered humanitarian aid, school and toys supplies to different schools in Mostar.

Mostar - "Some sensations are always difficult to describe but more when we can perceive that our help and effort produce a great benefit in the local population life." This is the sentence that Spanish Capt. Fernando Martínez Rebé used to describe the delivery carried out in Mostar by the personnel of the SPFR BG.

'Los Rosales' centre
The first place to visit was the 'Los Rosales' centre. Rebé explained: "This school was rebuilt and equipped by Spanish contributions, and inaugurated in 1998. Currently, they have 120 patients from 3 to 40 years old, some of them with special needs. Thanks to the co-operation of the Spanish contingent, they have completed a project to develop the centre. They maintain a primary and secondary school, five specific studios (painting, ceramics, wood, cloth and gardening) and a childrens nursery. With the donations and savings from the contingent, we have bought school material, glasses, medicines, nappies and baby food."
Milka Jusufbegovic, representative of the school commented: "In this centre children from different religions and ethnic groups live together. Our students prepare arts and crafts, which are sold in a shop in Mostar. With the profits we can develop new activities and programs. We are very grateful for the Spanish co-operation and their contributions are very positive."
Later, Spaniards visited the 'Neretva' scout group, located in a fire station. About 200 children of the three ethnic origins are part of this organisation. With the help of the SPFR BG. they organise excursion and picnics.
Staff Sgt. Gabriel Porcuna Marín, from the CIMIC unit, stated: "We focus our job in resettlements of refugees and displaced persons. These people are living in poverty conditions, suffering the worst atrocities of a post-war economy. We distribute humanitarian aid among these people, in schools and orphanages, including water delivery, food, toys, warm clothing and blankets, school material, etc."

Alfaro's help
In this occasion, a great part of the clothing, shoes and toys came from Alfaro, a city situated in La Rioja, a Northeast region of Spain. Pvt. Francisco Zabal Almazán was in charge of organising this town with the SPFR BG. "I belong to the 'Monegro 572' scout group in Alfaro. During three weeks they developed a program to collect clothes and shoes among the population and shops of the city. We needed a truck to transport all clothes obtained, and this project was a success. Our work now is to sort out the clothes and to carry out the distribution according to CIMIC unit," added Zabal.
"Dreams are what we imagine while we sleep, and what we desire when we are awake. During our six months of presence in BiH, the SPFR BG has tried to strengthen some links with the local population in our Area of Responsibility. I'm satisfied because it has been possible to live one of our dreams," concluded Rebé.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Spain
Humanitarian Aid

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Photos: Sgt. Toni McDowell

From l. to r., Milka Jusufbegovic, interpreter Azra Brdarevic, Capt. Rebé and Pvt. Zabal.

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Staff Sgt. Porcuna interacts with the students.

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Pvt. Parralo (l.) and Sgt. Benito (r.) admire the drawings of a pupil.

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The meeting in the scout group means a happy moment for the children.

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Pvt. Zabal was responsible for collecting the clothes in Alfaro (Spain).