Claire Noone

Claire Noone (Bosnian Family - BOSFAM): Claire graduated in 2011 from Whitman Collage with a Bachelors Degree in Politics and a focus in human rights. She studied post-conflict transformation at the School for International Training in the Balkans, where she became deeply interested in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Claire wrote her thesis on the Bosnian electoral politics and ethnic division in Bosnia. She has also worked with migrants on the US/Mexico border, with environmental refugees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and for the rights of refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina. After her fellowship Claire wrote: “This fellowship reiterated my goal of getting to a place where I do not need to sit back and wait for someone to help me in order to get things done. I really enjoyed being part of a network that was small enough that it felt like a family, but had a global reach.”


03 Sep

BOSFAM's Srebrenica Center has closed as it waits for enough funding to pay for supplies, salaries and utilities.

BOSFAM’s Srebrenica Center has closed as it waits for enough funding to pay for supplies, salaries and utilities.

Times are hard in Bosnia, and times are hard at BOSFAM. After operating on borrowed time and money, we have been forced to close the doors of the Srebrenica Center. As of September 1st, 2012 the BOSFAM Center in Srebrenica will remain closed until enough funding comes in to reopen it. BOSFAM’s operations will continue in Tuzla. A number of unfulfilled agreements and  empty promises have lead BOSFAM into dark and cold waters. After a bureaucratic hide and seek we have come to the end of personally subsidized operations of BOSFAM. Unable to pay salaries, buy supplies, or pay for utilities any, longer the Srebrenica Center will be closed.

For many women BOSFAM is the only family they have, the only financial support they have and the only place they can come and find community. Especially in Srebrenica, women have returned alone to large homes they once shared with their families. Without BOSFAM they have no sense of purpose and no means of support. The value of what BOSFAM does is beyond anything that can be counted by bills and coins, but unfortunately even noble work lives in the world of money. With very little, BOSFAM does so much. BOSFAM has the structure and outreach to support and employ over 100 women with the minimal operation costing only $2, 00.00 US a month. However in a country with unemployment hovers around 50% and  a divisive political climate, such a modest budget is often out of reach.

Founded in the refugee camps in Tuzla, BOSFAM has been operating to help war ravaged women for 18 years. Initially after the war, funding came from many individual donors and international governments alike. However, as the gaze of the world wanders to other countries, issues and cat videos, the once flowing stream of funding has all but trickled to a stop. BOSFAM has survived on sporadic grants and one-time donors, but this is no way to offer sustained support to women. Every day, women come to BOSFAM asking if there is anything they can do for work, anything we can do to help them pay for food, for school for their children or for medicine. Each and every day we have to deny their pleas.

The women of BOSFAM make beautiful one-of-a-kind works that people in Bosnia simply do not have enough expendable income to afford. Instead of asking for donations, we are asking for people to explore the many products made by the women of BOSFAM. We have just launched a new WEBSHOP where beautiful handmade traditional handicraft is available for purchase. With income from sales BOSFAM can reopen the doors of the Srebrenica Center and reach out a helping hand to the women of Bosnia.



Posted By Claire Noone

Posted Sep 3rd, 2012

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