The Bosnian Children’s Project (BCP) was started by the Muslim Youth Foundation in Manchester in Ramadhan 2000.
Bosnia – Background
Bosnia and Herzegovina is in South Eastern Europe as part of the Balkan Peninsula. The population is made up of three ethnic groups: Bosnians (Muslims), Croats and Serbs (both Christian). Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the Muslim Ottoman Empire for over 400 years; it later became part of a new state called Yugoslavia which in 1945 became a communist state. The communist state suppressed religion. Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence from the former communist state of Yugoslavia in the 1990s during the Yugoslav wars.
During this war many atrocities occurred due to the genocide policy of the Serbian leadership towards the Bosnians. The worst of these atrocities was the massacre at Srebrenica in July 1995. When the Serbs captured this town more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were separated from their families and then systematically slaughtered during a period of 2 weeks; their bodies being dumped in mass graves.
The European Parliament has designated July 11th as a Day of Remembrance of the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. The MYF-BCP sends a representative to the memorial service held in Srebrenica on this day every year. On this occasion, a janaaza is also held collectively for the burial of the bodies which have been recovered from the mass graves during the previous year.
The Bosnian Children’s Project
The MYF-BCP was started by the Muslim Youth Foundation in Manchester in Ramadhan 2000. Alhamdulillah the project has now been running for some 12 years. When the project started, it was to cater for the educational, cultural & religious needs of some 500 Muslim children who were living in very difficult economic & social conditions in refugee camps around the city of Tuzla in North-Eastern Bosnia. The majority of families in these refugee camps were survivors of the massacre of Muslims that took place in & around the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia in July 1995. Now, our project principally caters for the children & families who are gradually returning to their pre-war homes in Eastern Bosnia. These children & families are returning to a hostile & ethnically cleansed landscape. The children critically need support in adapting to a new life as a minority. The MYF-BCP attempts to provide this support.
The BCP project sponsors the following activities for Bosnian children:
Islamic education classes, Information Technology classes, Classes to support children in their school work, Sports activities (football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, swimming, martial arts classes). In Ramadhan, Iftars & Islamic talks are held for the children & at Eid (both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid–ul-Adha) parties are held for the children, with distribution of Eid presents. Social gatherings, tournaments & day leisure visits are also organised for the children. Group visits from the UK are organised each year to see the work of the project in Bosnia. The MYF-BCP works in conjunction with 2 partner organisations in Bosnia, Selsebil and Prosvjetitelj who are both officially registered with the Bosnian Government via its official Islamic national organisation (Islamska Zajednice BiH). Selsebil worked with the children in the refugee camps located around the city of Tuzla in north-eastern Bosnia. Enlightenment works with the children of refugees who have returned to their pre-war homes in & around the town of Srebrenica.
Islamic education classes, Information Technology classes, Classes to support in school work.
Football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, swimming, martial arts classes.
Ramadhan & Eid
In Ramadhan, Iftars & Islamic talks are held for the children & at Eid (both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid–ul-Adha) parties are held for the children, with distribution of Eid presents.
Social gatherings, tournaments & day leisure visits are also organised for the children.
The local government religious authority on behalf of the MYF monitors the work of the two charities (Islamska Zajednice BiH – Tuzla Kanton).