Politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been creating an environment of hostility, fear and divisions for decades. Through their manipulations, they are inciting hatred among peoples, persuading them that their enemies are those belonging to a different nation or religion. At the same time, citizens are becoming hungrier and hungrier. However, despite political games, peoples show increasing solidarity and willingness to help each other.

Written by: Melani Isovic; Photographs taken by – Ajdin Kamber – Fotobaza.ba

A shining example of humanity and care towards fellow citizens are the humanitarian organisations “Mozaik prijateljstva“ (Mosaic of Friendship)  from Banja Luka and “Pomozi.ba“ (Help.ba) from Sarajevo, which have become the symbols of hope and togetherness as a result of their activities. Being focused on the needs of their beneficiaries, they show how the citizens may generate positive changes in their societies, regardless of national or religious orientation, and despite political divisions.

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It is very hectic from the early morning in the premises of “Mozaik prijateljstva“ in Banja Luka. There are hundreds of pieces of bread being delivered, the volunteers are being assigned different tasks. It is their dedication that makes the work of this public kitchen successful. As the pleasant smell of food spreads around, a message is sent out that everyone deserves a dignified life. All this is happening under Miroslav Subasic Kaspo’s watchful eye, who is the founder and the manager of “Mozaik prijateljstva“. The moment he spotted us, he started highlighting how important he found the cooperation between the two humanitarian organisations.

“Many people are not aware that most help during the COVID-19 pandemic came from Sarajevo, from “Pomozi.ba“. Apart from that, in the last more than a year, they have been providing us with a full set of supplies for the preparation of meals every weekend“, says Subasic.

Miroslav Subašić Kaspa; Photo: Melani Isović

“Mozaik prijateljstva“ pays special attention to the celebration of religious holidays of all nations. On those days they turn their premises into a restaurant. They prepare a collective lunch for everyone who wishes to come, which is the reason why they need larger amounts of food, but also sweets which they usually do not have on their daily menu.

“The citizens of the Banja Luka City also do not know that food for Orthodox and Catholic Easter, and for Eid is mostly covered by “Pomozi.ba”. Because of them, the users of the public kitchen get larger quantities of meat”, notes Subasic.

After they saw that the Association’s vehicle was worn out, and that they could no longer make field visits without it, the “Pomozi.ba” Association donated a new car to “Mozaik prijateljstva”.

“Pomozi.ba team knows that we make field visits on Sundays to deliver the food. Our vehicle was quite damaged at that time, so they offered to donate a new one to us. To be honest, I was suspicious. Once they brought a new car, registered under the name of our organisation, I still had difficulties believing that the car was ours now“, Subasic explains.

In the last ten days, the beneficiaries of the public kitchen of “Mozaik prijateljstva“ from Banja Luka, received eight tons of meat from “Pomozi.ba“ from Sarajevo. Hunger and humanity recognise no entity borders, which those who are ill-intentioned are persistently trying to impose.

“I recently received a phone call from Sarajevo, saying: “Miroslav, there are eight tons of meat coming to you”. They asked me: “Do you have a refrigerator?” I proudly said that I had seven of them. The conversation continued: “Do you have a freezer?” Where would I get a freezer from I said, so they mentioned that they would think about providing our Association with a freezer. They could not believe we did not have a freezer”, says Subasic, chortling at the same time.

Photo: Ajdin Kamber – Fotobaza.ba

The “Mozaik prijateljstva“ public kitchen receives 12.500 BAM annually from the City of Banja Luka. These funds are not even close enough to meet the needs of hungry people who rely on the Association’s help. This amount of money cannot cover monthly needs of their public kitchen.

“Gas here costs between 300 and 500 BAM per month. We have a public bathroom, a day centre for the elderly, a day centre for the homeless, there are many of those who come here to have a bath, and the monthly electricity bill is at least 300 BAM. We give out 300 pieces of breads a day. The number of beneficiaries is on the rise, especially after the prices have gone up. There is an everyday struggle. The need for food among people is high“, explains Subasic.

Despite limited funds, “Mozaik prijateljstva“ survives thanks to good people. Even the smallest donation is important for their operations. And it is exactly the donations of their fellow citizens that enable the Association to continue with its work.

“It makes me happy to see a child carrying bread in a bag, giving it to us to give to those in need. We exist thanks to the donations from good people. And our objective is to make „Mozaik prijateljstva“ self-sustainable. The new Law on Social Entrepreneurship was passed recently and “Mozaik prijateljstva” gained nothing with that law“, highlights Subasic.

Photo: Ajdin Kamber – Fotobaza.ba

Their work has been recognised by the largest humanitarian organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Pomozi.ba“, which provides regular support to them.

“Cooperation between the two public kitchens is very much important, both for nourishing friendly relationship between partner organisations, and for helping people in social need, which is the most important of all. They live on the edge of poverty, most of them having only what we give them jointly and independently“, explains Binas Masic from Pomozi.ba.

The humanitarian organisation “Pomozi.ba“ unselfishly helps hungry Banja Luka citizens every week, by donating supplies for the preparation of 1.400 meals in the kitchen of “Mozaik prijateljstva“. Apart from that, they feed thousands of hungry people throughout BaH every day, through their project “Meal for All”. They also help the citizens of Kozarska Dubica by providing 20 meals on a daily basis. Once all of this calculated, they distribute about 40.000 meals a month to those citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who are hungry.

“Most donations which were given to „Mozaik prijateljstva“ consisted of food products: fruit, vegetables, meat, oil, flour, potatoes… From the moment we started supporting them until now, we donated about 100 tons of food products. In addition, we donated a vehicle for the needs of this Association, which is mostly used for distributing meals to individual households”, explains Masic.

Photo: Ajdin Kamber – Fotobaza.ba

Through their daily activities, they are showing us how the solidarity with those in real need should look like.

„When the forces are united, everything can be done. The future for the better can be changed and we are changing it. With our actions we open the eyes of other people to get together and help the work of our organisations, and thus the end users. Without good people, all this would probably be impossible. There are many other kitchens which we also help in various ways and through different projects. Recently, within our „Winter action“ we helped 30 legal entities (of which 10 are public kitchens) with over 250 tons of food, reaching thousands and thousands of end users. The only and the most important slogan which we abide by is “all we have is all we can share“, concludes Masic.

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