(Text: Valentina G.) In Srebrenica, and in all of the Bosnia and Herzegovina the emergency state has been lifted and people are more relaxed than it was the case during the last two months. We still do not have any COVID-19 cases here, but in Bratunac, near Srebrenica, we have two cases, from yesterday. Reading news on web portals, we can see an increase of the number of cases in the most cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is still obligatory to wear face masks in closed public spaces. It is forbidden to gather more than 50 people in one place (and even with those 50 it has to be with social distance and protective measures).
There are no so many changes in Srebrenica. Still a really low number of people live and stay here permanently. There are more people in Srebrenica during the days of June and July, when numerous journalist teams are in the city, primarily for reporting on the occasion of the annual memorial days of the genocide. This year the number of people from other countries is smaller, so the city is quite deserted.
In schools, online classes were held until last week. There were large numbers of students, who did not have IT support within their family, many even did not have an internet connection to follow the lessons. So Sara tried together with our partners to make the situation. We managed to provide about 20 tablets and laptops (which is again a very small number compared to the need).
Sara has stopped with the projects that were supported from the American embassy. Cooperation with Italians is also not possible, so we still didn’t resume our activities and it is really hard to secure survival of the organization. I believe that we will be able to start some activities, but we have a hard time in front of us. I think that in 20 years of existence of the organization there was never that much uncertainty.
Initially we had planned to involve our young people with the Red Cross. But when it comes to volunteering with young people, simply neither Civilian protection nor the Red Cross wanted to take risks and involve volunteers outside their systems. I have personally asked several times. We organized ourselves in the process of sewing protective masks and there was a lot of support from fellow citizens. Together, we are planning several volunteer initiatives, but we will wait a little longer for the situation to calm down.
People lost their jobs. Uncertainty brings new fears, especially related to economic existence. Corruption and crime of leading politicians have reached their peak in these difficult times, unfortunately, at all levels of government.
Moreover it’s election year. We expect a lot of media and political manipulation, although the election date has not been officially confirmed (if I am right). I planned to be engaged as an observer in the election campaign with the aim of monitoring the spending of public funds and reducing corruption. Today, I received confirmation of a three-month engagement with Transparency International. We will also coordinate election observation activities, and we will include YU-Peace activists from Srebrenica.
Valentina G. works for our partner organisation Sara, based in Srebrenica.