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Transforming Lives

Nermina Begović speaks to journalists after Sarajevo crafts certification ceremony in Sarajevo.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that’s not true for artisans of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), who have learned, honed and passed on their skills from generation to generation for hundreds of years.

Rafters wade in waist-deep waters to rescue victims of flooding in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Purportedly, one can tell a lot about people by the way they talk about their deeds, if they are reluctant to put themselves in the spotlight. Such are the brave rafters from the Kanjon Rafting Club of Banja Luka, who were among the first to put their lives and skills in service to rescue victims of the devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in May 2014.

Man cleans mud from his home after devastating floods of May 2014 in Maglaj, BiH.

The year 2014 will always be remembered in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH): It was the year when deadly floods and landslides destroyed everything in their path. Houses, schools, hospitals, businesses, farms and crops were devastated. Damages are in the billions of dollars. Recovery will be long and hard. 

Emin Hodzic (L) and Adnan Mujic present their winning Light Docs business concept at the Balkan startup competition in May 2014.

It seemed like a long shot to four young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) when they decided to see if their business ideas could stand up to scrutiny and garner support from a USAID program to help innovative—and hard-working—youth like them. But since then, they have won first and second place in a regional competition for startup business ideas, and have been invited to present their concepts at a major conference in London, for all the tech investment world to see.

Alma Čamdžić, owner of the Alma Derm company in BiH.

Using the natural resources of Konjuh Mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Alma Čamdžić and her sister started a home business two years ago, reviving the old trade of soap making and production of natural cosmetics. Like hundreds of other enthusiasts and small entrepreneurs in BiH, they have tied their careers to the development of tourism potential.

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Last updated: September 22, 2014

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