Project Stories:

Najlas´ first steps

Current individual casework

by LKO,  2016/05/27

Quick, lasting and comprehensive help for as many needy people as possible. With this goal in mind the employees and voluntary workers of humedica provide worldwide emergency and disaster relief since many years now. Although this commitment aims to support preferably a wide number of people, humedica intervention teams time and again come face to face with personal fates that can not be eased by extensive relief measures, but require individual support. In cases, where people can not help themselves due to lacking resources or unfavourable external circumstances, the individual case work of humedica takes action.

humedica implements this special kind of help several times a year and thereby takes measure that may mean the difference between life and death and sometimes even improve the living conditions of whole groups. By means of their individual case questionnaire we would like to present you people in their living situations, who receive support by humedica´s current individual case work.

Today you will hear the special story of Najla from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Name and age:

Najla, four years old

Project country:


How is the humanitarian situation in the project country?

20 years have passed now since the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been terminated and the Dayton peace treaty has ended the three years of violence for the inhabitants of the country in the Southeast of Europe. The major part of the destroyed villages and towns has been rebuilt in the meantime, but there are still minded areas as well as tensions between the ethnic groups.

The economy of the small country continually faces corruption and a high rate of unemployment, which drives especially younger, well educated people into emigrating to Western countries. About a quarter of all Bosnians has no job and if they were lucky enough to get one, the average monthly wage of only little more than 400 Euro does not allow for much.

The major part of the population is not able to compensate unexpected blows of fate like diseases or the loss of an income, which pushes many families into poverty. The Roma people in Bosnia, who due to discrimination are often extremely poor, are hit especially hard.

Under which circumstances lived Najla when the individual casework started?

Together with her single mother Elma Najla lived at her grandparents in the Bosnian town Bugojno. Early on in her childhood she fell and suffered a trauma, which caused a brain damage. Till date her motor skills are severely limited, she is not able to sit or stand on her own. She also has difficulty speaking and so she communicates mainly nonverbally with her environment except for a few words.

Because Najla has to be looked after around the clock, her mother can not take up a job. So the four-person family lives from the pension of the grandfather and a small state support. This is not enough to provide Najla with an appropriate therapy. But even if they had enough money, in their hometown there were no suitable places to go, no special kindergarten or counselling centre. In Bugojno there is only one physiotherapist to work with Najla and even he is lacking the necessary training to treat her disability properly.

As the medical care in Bosnia can not hold out to EU standards, Najlas mother Elma looked for possibilities to treat her daughter abroad. An aunt pointed her to humedica, who agreed to include Najla in its individual casework programme due to the seriousness of her difficulties.

How does humedica help Najla?

When the humedica team got to know Najla, it was clear from the start that her situation needed special support and her only chance to get better and thrive was to use the therapeutic options available in Germany. Therefore humedica organised a treatment in the Sociopaediatric Centre at the Weiden hospital and took over the costs.

In the Bavarian Centre the senior physician Dr. Susanne Rinnert comprehensively examined Najla and initiated a targeted treatment by a team of physio, speech as well as occupational therapists. Successfully: Three weeks after the start of the therapy Najla stood on her own legs for the first time in her life and provided all helpers with a very special moment. Also her mother Elma gets counselling and learns to help and support Najla as best as possible in the future.

As so often the individual case work for Najla is the result of many committed helpers, who engage themselves selflessly for the little girl from Bosnia. Besides the helpful and flexible team of the Sociopaediatric Centre in Weiden this applies especially for one woman. The volunteer Tina Braun agreed immediately to accommodate Najla and her mother during their stay in Germany for free. This great service helped to save a lot of money, which was now available for the treatment of Najla.

How does Najla live today?

In a few weeks Najla will terminate her therapy in Bavaria to return to Bosnia with her mother. She could already make many small improvements, which will change her future life for the better. She could overcome her fears of unknown people and situations and ameliorate her motor skills. Her mother Elma had the chance to learn much more about her disability, so she will be able to alleviate everyday life for Najla and to accompany her next steps towards an eased life.

Even after her treatment in Germany has ended, the humedica team will watch over the future development of Najla and will try to support her as best as possible with all necessary means.

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