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subota, 11. prosinca 2010.

Canadian Croatian Foundation For Demining Obtains Charity Status

This came out just a few days ago and I hope it really expedites removal of mines in Croatia. Children and adults have been victims of land mines since Croatia regained her freedom. Hundreds have even been killed. Also the related medical costs for survivors, including prosthetic limbs is a needless burden. The faster they can all get removed, the quicker this unpleasant legacy of the early 90's can be beat, and Croatia can move on. It just seems this problem doesn't get the exposure and attention it deserves because most of the mines are in rural, less populated areas, but mainly I think it's because it's not popular/politically correct to address this issue.

Croatia becoming a world class tourist destination, sports accomplishments, growing awareness on the politcal, gastronomical, and more popular scenes is all fine and good, but the potential of children losing a limb, or worse, is more important. I figure the sooner resources are concentrated to rid this mine problem from Croatian soil, and have people worry free once and for all, the better.  The technology is there, the manpower is there, the willingness is there, but funds are harder to come by. Also, I think this item ties in perfectly with one of my previous posts from a few days ago, regarding the costs of being part of expensive foreign military excursions, and the danger to Croatian soldiers' lives in Afghanistan. You can read that addition HERE.

(Fotograph: Leah Nash) In honor of a new playground in Valpovo children from Maza kindergarden sing songs about their town and wear traditional Slavonian clothing for a Playgrounds Without Mines program sponsored by the Croatian Red Cross.



VANCOUVER, Dec. 9 /CNW/ - The Canadian Croatian Foundation for Demining (CCFD) is pleased to announce that it has been granted Canadian charity status and execution of a Contractor Intermediary Agreement with the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF). Charity status allows CCFD to issue tax receipts to Canadian donors, while the agreement with ITF will leverage Canadian donors' donations by matching each dollar raised with an additional dollar via the US Matching Fund Mechanism.

(Fotograph: Leah Nash) In Babin Dup dog leader Marko Kulas searches for mines using his trained german shepard Milo. Kulas works for Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) a mine action program the only non-profit demining company in Croatia. In 2007 28 commercial mine-clearance companies and the NPA work with 583 deminers 45 demining machines and 103 mine-detection dogs to perform demining in Croatia.

Even though mines are mostly a problem in rural areas in parts of Croatia, away from tourist hot spots, their removal and related medical expenses should be priority number one before diverting funds for expensive undefined foreign military expeditions for other countries' interests. Footage from Deutsche Welle.

Demining projects will be developed using the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) database following CCFD's guidelines. These guidelines will focus demining projects at sites near schools, playgrounds and other highly frequented areas as well as land that is best suited for agricultural and other use.  Micro projects will be a priority as they will provide donors the opportunity to develop and fund entire projects.

Sara Shawesh, CCFD's President explained, "Many of us have forgotten that Croatia, Canada's NATO ally and soon to be EU member, has 800 000 people living in close proximity to suspected mine fields.  Croatia has signed and implemented the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and destroyed all landmine stockpiles.  CCFD's goal is to see that all landmines are removed from Croatian soil.  Obtaining charitable status in Canada will further help achieve this goal."

A sign warning of possible mines in a field in Croatia.

Individuals and corporations interested in supporting demining efforts in Croatia are encouraged to donate by visiting CCFD's website available on the following link:  Membership and volunteer forms are also available on the website.

ITF is a humanitarian, non-profit organization devoted to eradication of landmines from the region of South-eastern Europe and the world.  For additional information on ITF please visit the following link:

De-mining team disposing undestroyed mines in Lipovac, Croatia. Photo courtesy United Nations/J. Isaac

CROMAC is Croatian national institution responsible for the coordination of mine action activities in Croatia and it was founded in 1998 by Croatian Government.  For additional information on CROMAC please visit the following link:
CCFD is a Canadian charitable registered non-profit society whose objective is to remove landmines in Croatia.  For additional information on CCFD please visit the following link:

The problem mine areas lie in direct correlation with Serb occupied territory from the early 90's.

Ana-Marija and Andelo Ponos help tend to their father s olive trees in the village of Vuksic. The Ponos family has owned the land for more than 100 years but has been unable to cultivate it since the war due to landmines. In 2004 NPA (Norwegien People s Aid) demined the land which is now filled with olive trees. Their father used to work at a factory in town until it was destroyed in the war now his family survives with child support from the government and from their garden. In a few years when the trees are older they hope to bottle and sell the oil. (Fotograf: Leah Nash)

For further information:

Marko Dekovic
Director - Canadian Croatian Foundation for Demining 
Tel: 1-778-918-8394

 Project "Watch Out, Mines!"


Mine Risk Education Project named »Watch out, mines!« was implemented during the last two years in Croatia. Due to success of the project, excellent results and needs of Bosnia an Herzegovina, ITF decided to support the same project also in this neighbouring country which is facing similar mine problem and is lacking educational material for children.

The goal of the project is to educate the children and community about the danger of mines through printing and presenting of ‘Watch out, mines!’ picture book in order to reduce and prevent the risk of injury from mines. It is planned to print 25.000 picture books and distribute them to the first grade students and public libraries on the teritory of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The project started in November 2009 and will be finished in November 2010 (upon the no-cost extension of the project timeline due to logistical troubles in Bosnia and Herzegovina).

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