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Cosic Zijad - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cosic Zijad was born in 1952 in Jablanica (near Mostar) where he still lives with his family. Zijad is married and has two sons. He stepped on landmine while serving in the military in 1995. The explosion caused his left leg to be amputated below the knee and a partial finger amputation. His friends tried to help him, but it took them about five hours to pull him out of the minefield and another hour to transport him to the hospital. He lost a lot of blood and the doctors performed a miracle to save his life. He stayed in hospital for very long time because of the complications on his residual limb, which required additional surgeries.

Due to the heavy shelling and the poor transportation system, his family was not able to visit him often in the hospital. While there he did meet many other amputees that became friends. After he returned home, life became more difficult for him and his family. In the beginning Zijad was desperate and lost, and felt that everybody pitied him. His home was about 70 kilometers from the nearest prosthetic center and transportation was very poor. It took him a year before he got his first prosthesis, but afterwards he felt that it changed other’s people attitude about his disability, and made him feel better.

Before the war, Zijad was employed in a state company as a plumber, but the company closed and Zijad couldn’t find another job. An LSN outreach worker met Zijad in 1999, after hearing about him from another survivor. Zijad didn’t have problems talking to the outreach worker, and most of their discussion was mainly focused on many problems that survivor and his family had. Zijad had a couple of ideas of what he could do to improve the economic situation for his family. He had some land that could be used for agriculture but the whole area was covered with woods. However, Zijad had some experience with wood-cutting. LSN agreed from the beginning to help Zijad by buying a chain saw, so that he would be able to cut woods for his family and neighbors. This was an interim solution to see how Zijad can manage this work and earn some money from it. The outreach worker was visiting him regularly and his progress was obvious but not enough.

Since he lives in a very poor and isolated area, he could not earn enough money to support his family. It is also important to mention that this area of Mostar has almost no other service providers beside LSN. Zijad and the outreach worker discussed other options, and after almost a year LSN provided Zijad with a small land cultivator for farm work. Now the whole family is involved in vegetable production. They raise all kinds of vegetables and sell them at the market. They now have a solid income. To pay back LSN with community service, Zijad cut firewood for other survivors, and gave about 500 kilos of vegetables (potatoes and onions) to a local nursing home.

Zijad is no longer concerned what he is going to do with his life. Every day is filled with work and engagement. It has brought joy and happiness to Zijad’s home again.

View the next profile: Tun Channereth

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