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Zikrija Covic - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Zikrija Čović, is from Sarajevo. Until 1992, he and his wife and children lived in their family home and he worked as an accomplished metal craftsman. He made a good living and remembers being very satisfied with life. But then war broke out. His home was suddenly on the front line of fighting. He and his family fled to Croatia, leaving everything they owned behind. Zikrija became a soldier. In August of 1992, he was walking through some woods on a mountain, and he stepped on a landmine. His first thought was “What will happen to my family now?”

Because the war was raging around him, there were too many patients who needed the hospital, and Zikrija was discharged quickly. He found his family in Croatia where they waited for the war to end.

Zikrija was haunted by that day on the mountain side. He kept re-playing it over and over in his head. “Where did I go wrong? Could I have avoided the accident?”

Finally, the war ended and Zikrija and his family went back to Bosnia. He had a small pension, but it was barely enough to cover basic expenses. Rebuilding his home was something he could only dream about.

It was impossible to find an organization ready to finance the building of a new home, so Zikrija and his wife and children started reconstructing the house on their own. He managed to complete only two rooms, and he moved in with his family. He realized that he could not go further without employment or income. The company he worked for before the war was destroyed, so he could not return to his old job.

LSN Outreach Worker Nusret Pleho met Zikrija in 2002 at a meeting of military veterans, where the only agenda was exchanging stories from the war. They began talking and Nusret learned that Zikrija had many needs, from frequent problems with his stump, to his unfinished house with no roof and no bathroom, to his unemployment and lack of enough money to support his five-member family. Together they compiled a list of all his needs and ideas, and then they prioritized the steps to be taken to realize them.

The roof repair was fairly easy, but the need for a job was more difficult. The unemployment rate was so high that even “healthy” people were out of work. After some exploration of different ideas, Zikrija decided to become a carpenter. He realized that he wasn’t the only one who needed to rebuild his home. In April 2003, LSN provided woodworking tools to Zikrija.

He not only does home repairs and building, but he does beautiful pieces of artwork, as well. He has shown his work in two LSN Survivors Works exhibitions. “I am creative again. I am a craftsman. I am ME again,” he says.

View the next profile: Sanil Djulic

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