The Diaspora is a key element in economy of every country especially countries in transition which unfortunately have the low income and struggle to identify adequate sources of income.
B&H Diaspora is able to offer a substantial contribution and actively engage with the home country to build a stronger nation and foster the economic reconstruction in such a difficult global financial climate.
According to the data of the international agencies for the year 2009, number of citizens in B&H was 3.800.000 and number of B&H citizens living outside of B&H was 1.461.000. This means that B&H Diaspora makes the half of the population.
Mainly, Diaspora gives its help to their families. Nevertheless, B&H Diaspora has been actively involved in helping B&H citizen and not only their families. This is revealed through the work of many humanitarian organizations that use the funds raised from Diaspora for improving lives of many people in need. One of the organizations that apply very successfully in this sector is the NGO “Naša Realnost”.
Naša Realnost is a nonprofit, nongovernmental, humanitarian organization which successfully works in networking the socially excluded and financially endangered B&H citizens with B&H Diaspora. The aim of this organization is to ensure basic funds for poor and marginalized citizens throughout the fundraising among Diaspora population and local donations. We had the opportunity to meet and interview the Deputy Director of Naša Realnost, Mrs. Nataša Vidaković.
In order to make us clear for the importance of B&H Diaspora in activities of Naša Realnost, we have kindly asked Mrs. Nataša few questions about it.
According to your opinion, how much of Naša Realnost funds is provided by the B&H Diaspora ?
Naša Realnost exists already for nine years. From those nine years, we have been closely working with B&H Diaspora for seven years due which funds provided by B&H Diaspora make over 70% of Naša Realnost funds.
In average, Naša Realnost raises and distributes around 220 000 BAM per year to those people in need and Diaspora funds are over 150 000 per year. These funds form Diaspora are distributed to over 250 families per year in B&H through humanitarian support in funds, food, scholarships, home reconstructions and income generation.
The funds of B&H Diaspora come from USA, Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and many other European countries where B&H Diaspora lives.
How important is for the welfare of the B&H citizens living in poverty, that B&H Diaspora continues directly and indirectly providing the financial support to B&H citizens?
The fact that we are providing humanitarian support to huge number of the poor families, that we are providing scholarships and other sort of support to marginalized people in B&H tells us that nobody else is providing them with the help.
Every year about 20-30 children are being supported with scholarships by these funds that we get from Diaspora. If there wouldn’t be B&H Diaspora support, our beneficiaries wouldn’t be provided with their basic life needs as well as many students and young people wouldn’t be able to get even basic education due to the poverty issues.
Sometimes it is hard for people to understand that some young person can not go to school due to 25 BAM per month which is needed for monthly buss ticket to the school or because of lacking certain amount of money to buy books and other school materials. Many parents from the marginalized group of population wouldn’t be able to school their children if it wasn’t for the help that is provided from Diaspora
Therefore, the support of the B&H Diaspora is of the crucial financial support as long as our country is not yet able to provide adequate social support to its citizens in need.
Are the citizens of B&H grateful for the help provided by B&H Diaspora and how they show their gratitude?
B&H citizens in need are more than grateful to each person helping them and same works for B&H Diaspora. The appreciation is even greater because of the fact that funds are provided by B&H citizens living abroad who managed to find them selves better life and even in those moments still thinking about their fellow citizens who were not that luck.
B&H Diaspora does not have huge expectation about the gratitude, not expecting some big celebrations of their actions. They simply are happy and satisfied when they see that their funds or support have resulted with some family fed and taken care for, some child or young person provided with education etc. that is the biggest reward for anyone who has the humanitarian feelings.
Naša Realnost has a great experience in the sector of the humanitarian work in regard to helping marginalized families of B&H. Many association and organization which deal with the same issues have been accused for lack of transparency in regard to funds. What makes your organization popular and transparent when it comes to fair and transparent distribution of B&H Diaspora funds?
Since first day we have started to work with B&H Diaspora funds, we have accompanied every action with the TV show. The TV show is aired twice a month and is a transparent way to show and prove where the money goes to. We record every fund that we receive from Diaspora and then we do the same with the distribution of this money. So, people who give the money through the TV show can watch where the money has been distributed.
Also, other advantage of our organization is that we do not take any percentage of this fund circulation, so everything goes for the benefit of marginalized people.
The main prove that the donators are satisfied with our work is that they keep coming back to us and giving their help over and over, every year for about seven years. Sometimes when happens that donators from Diaspora are in B&H they join us in our actions and come with us from family to family distributing the assistance with us.
What is the message that is been conveyed through the assistance that B&H Diaspora gives to our country?
The biggest assistance comes from B&H Diaspora which left the country during the war 1992-1995. This is because they are still very connected to the country and to people here. They are very sensitive and have sympathy when it comes to these issues. The main reason that this category of Diaspora is more connected to the country than people who have left earlier the country is mainly because they were forced to leave due to the war. So, let say it was not their full wish to leave the country but conditions were like that.
Therefore, they use all the means to be still in touch with the people here, by helping them, visiting and contacting them. Their love for B&H they pass on even to their children.
They often express their wish to return in B&H, once the conditions in country get improved.
Finally, all this help and assistance once more reveals how human and generous Bosnian nation is.