Bosnia's children given pounds 114,000 of hope

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The Independent Online
JOJO MOYES

Readers of the Independent have contributed pounds 114,728 to our Christmas appeal to help the children of former Yugoslavia - money that is already being spent on food, medical treatment, counselling and reuniting them with their families.

The largest amount - pounds 44,934 - went to Save the Children. Lawrie Joshua, assistant divisional director of the charity, said the money would help set up a registration and reunification programme for the children of Tuzla, and expand the scheme which already exists in Serbia-Montenegro.

He added: "For the 460 children we have identified as unlikely to be reunited with their parents, the money will go towards helping develop long-term arrangements, such as foster care services and special programmes for children with disabilities.

"It's a tremendous boost to our efforts and we're delighted that Independent readers were so supportive of the campaign," he added.

The second largest beneficiary was the British Red Cross, which is using the pounds 39,158 from Independent readers to help fund its programme for "messaging and tracing", which puts unaccompanied children back in touch with their parents. It will also go towards the "school snacks" programme, which ensures 50,000 Bosnian children get food and milk each day.

Mike Whitlam, director- general of the British Red Cross said: "The conflict is over but our work now increases, helping the region move to reconstruction and rehabilitation."

Readers also raised pounds 19,999 for the charity War Child. The money will be used to help set up a music therapy centre in Mostar; some will also go towards the pounds 80,000 needed to finance the Nase Dijete orphanage.

David Wilson, War Child's executive director, said: "Your appeal has made a significant impact. Both War Child and the young orphans in Tuzla wish to express their gratitude."

The final recipient was Child Advocacy, which is bringing Bosnian children to Britain for urgent medical treatment and helping to rebuild medical facilities within the country.

Readers' donations totalling pounds 10,636 have been forwarded to the charity, some of which has already been used to bring the first seven children to the UK.

All the children, whose conditions range from lymphoma to severe heart conditions, are responding well to treatment and the charity is planning to return one child - four-year-old Amela Kurtovic - when the political situation has stabilised.

Amela was brought to the UK before Christmas so that doctors could carry out an operation on her leg, badly injured in a shell blast.

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