Five year old Edin Zelic is the youngest of four children who live with their parents, near Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Until recently, the family was managing to get by on the money Edin’s father, Haris, earned as a labourer but when he injured his back in an accident at work, they were left with next to nothing to live on.
Edin’s parents couldn’t afford to pay rent and buy food and so they had to move to temporary accommodation in a one bedroom flat above an empty shop on a busy main road. Edin and his older brothers and sisters, Eldin, Samra and Sara were at risk of being separated from their parents and sent to live in an orphanage. There they would have been segregated by age and left to grow up barely knowing one another. Edin would have had no one to love and protect him; he would have been just one more child, struggling to survive alongside so many others, neglected, frightened and alone.
Instead, when we visited the Zelic family recently, Edin was playing with his older brother in front of the fire. His Mum, Nizama, was cooking dinner. One of his big sisters, Sara, was helping her and his other sister, Samra, was busy colouring. Nizama, who has some learning difficulties, is an attentive and affectionate mother. Her children are happy, confident and well cared for. When their Dad comes home, the two little boys throw themselves at him, shouting and laughing, demanding hugs and kisses.
The whole family was very happy to see Amra, one of our social work team in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Amra has made sure that Edin and his family have enough food and warm clothes to get by as well as household basics like washing powder, soap and toothpaste and school supplies for the children.
This vital support means they can keep going and stay together until Haris recovers and can find work again. But if the family can’t find better housing soon, the authorities may still decide that Edin and his siblings are better off in an institution. Neither Haris nor Nizama have any formal education and so Amra is helping them complete the paper work to apply for social housing. In the meantime, with our support, they are managing against the odds to provide a real home for their children; a home where Edin can grow up feeling loved and knowing that he belongs.