Dear Supporters, I’m really excited to tell you about a project I’m working on with a US Army team in Sarajevo to address gender-based violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We’ve been able to fund four extremely successful women’s self-defense classes so far. With your help, we can support up to nine more sessions in the coming months. The fractured history of the Balkans led to three years of war from 1992 to 1995. The region is still recovering today from the effects of the ethnic fighting that broke out between the Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats. People from of all ethnic backgrounds suffered greatly during the conflict, but women were often the targets of the most grotesque atrocities, including rape and other forms of civilian torture. Unfortunately, today, gender-based violence is still a problem and remains widespread and underreported. A US Army team based in Sarajevo met with local leaders and determined that self-defense classes for women would raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault. At the same time, the classes would give local women the skills they needed to defend themselves. And, it’s helping heal wounds in communities scarred by a history of conflict. Please help us continue this program. Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs are already providing the training — what we need is your support to pay for punching pads and refreshments for the receptions after the classes. As always, thank you for all you do to support Spirit of America in the important work we do all over the world. Best, Chris Clary Project Manager – Europe
Chris served as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant in Afghanistan where he mentored Afghan Commandos from 2010-2011. He volunteered to return in 2012 to work with Afghan Local Police and Afghan National Police at a Village Stability site in central Afghanistan, and also took a leave of absence from SoA to deploy once more to Afghanistan with his Special Forces team in 2015.