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Mustafa Suvalic - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mustafa Suvalic lost his leg to a landmine while in the military in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was told about Landmine Survivors Network through a friend and was matched with an Outreach Worker. With help and support, Mustafa began the road to recovery — both physically and emotionally — but still needed a way to earn a living and support his family.

Through the advice of his Outreach Worker, Mustafa entered LSN’s greenhouse vegetable training program. This program taught him that tomatoes and peppers are the most profitable vegetables to grow and sell. From here he learned how to plant and irrigate, use fertilizers and pesticides, as well as how to market and sell his produce. With LSN’s assistance, and through his own drive to succeed, Mustafa successfully graduated from the program in 2005. He began growing tomatoes to support his family, and was so successful that not only has he been able to expand his garden by planting peppers, but he also was also able to give back to his community by donating tomatoes to an orphanage in Tuzla. “This is exactly how I perceive support,” said Suvalic, “It is about receiving, and being able to offer it to others.”

He has since purchased a plastic greenhouse, which he is operating on a small plot of land, and he plans to use his revenue to attend school and earn a business degree.

Since 1997, LSN has been actively helping survivors in Bosnia-Herzegovina, beginning with a visit by the late Princess Diana. Together, we visited survivors who not only tragically lost limbs — but also lost the will to live. We met victims who lacked adequate medical care, had no hope of regaining a normal life, and whose families didn't know how to help or cope.

Bosnians still face the terror of landmines every day. Shockingly, there are still 670,000 mines and explosive remnants of war buried in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Landmines are scattered across the country and the fear of stepping on one and losing a limb — or dying — is always present in people’s minds. There are many minefields not marked on maps and flooding has moved landmines in many areas — so they can be almost anywhere. This leaves Bosnians living in fear — afraid to take a step, afraid to let their children play freely, afraid even to farm their land.

LSN has thus far been able to change the lives of over 6,000 Bosnian victims. In the past year alone, we helped nearly 500 landmine victims pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Our Outreach Workers are amputees themselves who know firsthand what it takes to recover and thrive. They know where to find the right doctors and the right job opportunities so that landmine victims can become productive members of their communities once again. We truly are survivors helping survivors.

But even with these successes, there is still more work to do. There are hundreds of names on our waiting list in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and thousands more in other countries we work in. Your support is greatly needed so we can reach out to these innocent victims of war and help them get a leg, get a job, and get on with their lives.

Thank you on behalf of the landmine survivors who count on LSN’s help.

View the next profile: Cosic Zijad

Less than 10 percent of landmine survivors have access to proper medical care and rehabilitation. Please visit our Donate Now section and see what you can do to help landmine survivors around the world.

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