Mehrdad Aziz was a welder in his home country Iran. He was able to make a decent living, however the situation in the country influenced his decision to leave. His journey led him to Serbia and then he crossed the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina near Zvornik. Along with 10 friend he reached Bihać. Mehrdad has been accommodated in Temporary Reception Center Bira for 18 months now. Being alone in Bihac, he often reflects on his family members that remained in Iran - his mother, brothers and sisters
Mehrdad has already been in the game* 24 times. Every time, the Border police in Croatia would catch a group of migrants along with him, and return them to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“My attempts to cross the border towards European Union have been unsuccessful and full of negative experiences with the Border police, but I am not giving up! Each time they would confiscate our mobile phones and take the money that we had on us. They often assaulted us physically, forced us to go back to Bosnia through a cold river or to walk through the woods without shoes. This meant that we came back to camps in Bihać with injured feet, smeared with scratches and cuts, and sometimes frozen to the bones”, emphasised Mehrdad.
After each game, Mehrdad went back to TRC Bira, where he received medical care for the injuries he had sustained. As he explains, the medical teams in the camp are professional and full of understanding for what the migrants are going through.
Mehrdad has been decorating the walls of TRC Bira since March 2019, making them come to life with graffiti and paintings, giving beauty and colour to the facility that is now shelter for him and more than 1500 other persons. He says that the best part of his days is exactly that – discovering his talent for the arts, which helps him to overcome more easily the tough situations that befall him.
*Game – an expression for clandestine border crossing, commonly used among the migrant population. Crossing the border to them is like a game in which they have a 50% chance to cross, and 50% to fail.
DRC Danish Refugee Council supports the provision of Health Care in Reception Centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina for more some 4000 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in cooperation with national health institutions: Primary Health Centers, Hospitals and Clinical Centers, through funding provided by European Commission Directorate General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
Medical Teams of doctors and nurses from the local PHCs provide daily care to men, women and children, supported through provision of medication and ensured referral pathways for secondary health care services. Every day, they provide care and assistance for many of them who return to the centers with difficult health conditions, injuries and deteriorating mental health, after the failed attempts to continued their journeys.
Moayed has been volunteering since day one in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now, being an asylum seeker for almost a year he has a job and lives independantly in an apartment that he rents.
Ndaishimiye lives with his wife and children in their house in Nduta Camp, Tanzania. Back in his country, Burundi, he was asked to teach children about the ruling party, but refused. As a consequence, he was jailed.
Mohammad started working at the age of 11 at the local pharmacy. That is how he earned the means for his education and managed to graduate the economics at the university. He learned a lot about medicines and developed an affection towards medicine – knowledge that turned out to be very useful.
In 1997, Nicole fled Eritrea to avoid military conscription. Her story is a story of female empowerment and strength. Coming to a new country, Nicole had to overcome the challenges of being “othered” due to her birth name, Rahwa.