With a donation from an anonymous donor through the Tides Foundation, PCRC will lead the action to build a new home for Hatidza and her son. In addition to a home for Hatizda, which will be located on the 2nd floor of the newly constructed building, PCRC will be building a community center on the 1st floor. The community center will be used by local organizations that are working toward a brighter future for Bosnian citizens, victims, and youth members. PCRC has selected the organization POMOZI.BA to run the center full time, and an agreement has been made to allow other organizations the chance to use the space for meetings and projects.
Founder and Executive Director of PCRC Velma Šarić met Hatidza Saiti in October of 2010 while working on a report about collective centers in BiH with Swiss journalist Thomas Fuster from NZZ. This brave, 53-year-old woman has lost almost her entire family during the war in May 1992. Last year, she also lost her two remaining brothers; one died of lung cancer and the other died of a heart attack shortly after his brother’s funeral.
In addition to the atrocities that she has experienced, Hatidza also had to flee from her home. She sought refuge at a local ‘collective center’ and was moved around from one shelter to the next at least 10 times since 1992. She ended up in one of these centers in Gorazde (Shelter Cajniska bb) where she remains today with her son Mirsad who suffers from severe asthma. Hatidza is also sick; she suffers from arthritis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She has to take 4 different medications which she can barely afford as she only receives a retirement pension of 275 KM (about $187) per month to pay her bills and buy groceries.
Hatidza’s and Mirsad’s current living conditions are dangerous and their residence would be considered uninhabitable by U.S. standards. Their flat consists of two rooms and the walls are collapsing in on themselves. The inside of the home is damp and a mold problem has complicated, if not induced, her son’s asthma. They don’t have any home appliances and there is no running water, yet Hatidza and Mirsad must share a bathroom with 10 other families who are living on the 1st floor of the dilapidated structure. The Saiti family cannot return to their pre-war neighborhood because their home has been occupied by the same who are people responsible for taking Hatidza’s mother and husband out of that same house 20 years ago. Hatidza’s mother and husband have still not been found.
Despite her hardships, Hatidza remains optimistic and strongly believes in a bright future for her son. Hatidza’s only dream is to own her own home with a small garden where she can live comfortably with Mirsad. Mirsad, a pale 15-year-old boy, dreams about one day owning a computer and wants to finish high school and pursue a higher education.