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Psychosocial help for war-traumatised veterans

A project from SEKA Hamburg e.V. / Projekt SEKA
in Gorazde, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Psychological and psycho-social help for war-traumatised veterans in the BPKanton Gorazde, East-Bosnia.

G. Mueller
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About this project

Even 20 years after the end of war through the Dayton-agreement the population in Bosnia and Herzegowina still suffers from the consequences of war.
The population of the town of Gorazde experienced almost four years lasting siege, shelling, and extreme hunger.
But they succeeded also in something unbelievable: to defend the town against the aggressor, who was superior in arms, in soldiers and everything else. “Our courage rose from our desperation: we knew what had happened to the people of the other towns who had been captured…”, says one of the veterans, “but I wish, I had not had to pass through all this….”
Many of the defenders of Gorazde, who had to become soldiers to save their town, still today suffer from the horrible experiences in this war.
For a long time they couldn’t get any psychotherapeutic help, as there were no therapists in the whole Kanton Gorazde. The trauma of the men / fathers massively afflicts also their families, and has severe consequences for women and children, too.

Since February 2006 project SEKA started – besides the work with women and children – to work also with war traumatised veterans in a pilot project.
The psychological leader of the project, Gabriele Müller and SEKA-Coordinator Esma Drkenda initiated together with several veterans' organisations the founding of the Veterans’ Club “Svjetlost Drine” = “Light of Drina” (Drina is the river flowing though Gorazde). The Club offers (since beginning of 2007) psycho-social help for war-traumatised veterans. Gabriele Müller supports the work of the Club through therapeutic-educative group-work and individual therapy.
Through the last two years the Club became an important meeting point for the veterans, where they feel safe and welcome, they can meet each other and find support.
A big problem, however, are the finances. It is very hard to get financial support from the Kanton or the town of Gorazde, as this is one of the poorest communities in Bosnia.