Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Srebrenica Family Left Stranded by Poverty

Images of life in a remote village for a Bosniak family with nowhere else to go.
  • Azemina Sulejmanovic in her old "classroom" where a teacher used to come and home-school her. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina Sulejmanovic in her old "classroom" where a teacher used to come and home-school her. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • The Sulejmanovic family shares one cramped room. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    The Sulejmanovic family shares one cramped room. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • The cultural centre where the family live is in an isolated village. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    The cultural centre where the family live is in an isolated village. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Azemina’s parents talk about why they came to be where they are now. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina’s parents talk about why they came to be where they are now. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Azemina with her father Mujo. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina with her father Mujo. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Azemina’s mother, Hata. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina’s mother, Hata. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Improvised bathroom in the living room. (Photo: Sanja Vrzic)
    Improvised bathroom in the living room. (Photo: Sanja Vrzic)
  • The family earn money by collecting and selling wild herbs. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    The family earn money by collecting and selling wild herbs. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Azemina doing her homework. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina doing her homework. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Azemina looks at a photo of classmates at her new school in Vareš. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina looks at a photo of classmates at her new school in Vareš. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • Azemina heads off to her new high school in Vareš. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    Azemina heads off to her new high school in Vareš. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
  • The road to the nearest town, Vareš, where Azemina’s school is located, is inaccessible for most of the winter. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)
    The road to the nearest town, Vareš, where Azemina’s school is located, is inaccessible for most of the winter. (Photo: Sanja Vrzić)

These pictures show 11-year old Azemina and her parents Mujo and Hata Sulejmanovic, who live in the village of Brgule in central Bosnia. 

Mujo and Hata Sulejmanovic are Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) refugees from the eastern town of Srebrenica, which was captured by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. More than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were massacred in the days that followed.

Like many displaced people, the Sulejmanovics moved around looking for a permanent home. In their case, they ended up living in Brgule's cultural centre, where they have a single, concrete-floored room with neither kitchen nor bathroom.

Azemina is the only child in Brgule and has no one to play with. The only other people still living in the village are six elderly families.

The nearest school is 15 kilometres away, and Azemina rarely goes there, because her parents do not own a car and cannot afford public transport.

For the full story, see Lonely Life for Bosnian Refugee Family.

These photographs were taken by Sanja Vrzić, an architect, photographer and graphic designer based in Sarajevo. She specialises in landscape, documentary and cultural photography.