During the War of Independence, the tiny village of Licko Petrovo Selo suffered incredible loss and damage, with its pre-war population of 2000 dropping to 120. Most of the villagers fled to neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia after Croatian military forces invaded the area in August 1995. For many of those that returned, their homes had been damaged or destroyed.
Headed by returnee, Sonja Leka, a small group of refugees created the Tara Citizen’s Association in 2004, to provide returning women with an income and a means of self-sufficiency. Step inside the Tara Community Centre, their base, and you can hear the gentle hum of activity, as the ladies of the association produce hand crafted items, which are then sold and exhibited. Their efforts serve to preserve traditional values and culture and share these with other communities. But also, and maybe more importantly, they serve as a therapeutic solution to deal with the trauma of war, and as a way to heal ethnic divisions through community and inspire future generations.