The Bosnians and Croatians


 These are some of the members of the Bosnian and Croatian class members from World Relief. We meet twice a week and go on field trips once a month. In October, we went to Wauconda Orchards to pick apples. We arrived a little early, so the Orchard coffee shop treated us to free coffee, apple cider, and donuts. But the best part was the horse drawn carriage that took us to the Orchards. We had a great time!

The Senior immigrants and refugees who participate in the many programs offered by CLESE member agencies come from over 30 countries.

Those who have enrolled in our Bright Ideas classes come from Bosnia, the Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, and China. Many are refugees from war torn countries. Others came to America seeking refuge from religeous oppression.

Each must face many challenges, creating a new life for themselves in a new country, coping with loss of family and home, dealing with the trauma of war, and the problems we must all deal with: health, finances, security, and meaning in life.

Many, but not all, have family members in the United States. They tend to live in neighborhoods with others from their home country. Now, in the Bright Ideas classes, they are making friends with other students from all over the world.

Click on the students below to read something
about them written in their own words.

Bessima Vojnikovic

Fatima Kopic

Fatima Salkanovic

Hilmija Bekic

Ismeta Terzic

Mula Mehmedovic

Sadeta Hodzic

Smajl Kopic

Suada Foric

Not the least of their problems is learning English.

As part of of the Bright Ideas English Literacy-Civics program, we ask our students to talk about their lives before and after they came to America. We ask them to work together and with other classes to explore their neighborhoods and become familiar with how our society works. We emphasize oral communication, but the student also produce pictures and writings that describe what they are thinking

Bessima In my house I live my son and my daughter-in-law.   I like my family.   I like my bedroom and my flowers. I like watching TV.   I watch Spanish shows.   I like listening music.   I like cleaning and cooking in my kitchen.   I like wearing make-up.
  Fatima For eight years I no see my two sons. I was very happy coming to America. My sons live in America. I have two grandchildren. One is 4. One is 7. Two boys. Everyday I take them to park. My apartment is close to park.
  FatimaBefore war we were happy. I live small village. My husband work Beograd, Yugoslavia. In war, my husband was kidnapped. My husband in concentration camp 18 months. I was very sad. Then my husband come home. We come to America. I am happy. I miss my daughter and my mother in Bosnia.
  HilmijaHilmija came from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am married. My wife name is Behija. We have two children. I came to America May 15, 1996. The name of my city is Chicago. Chicago is the state of Illinois. Capital city state Illinois is Springfield. Chicago is beautiful city. I live on Keeler Avenue. I want to become American Citizen.
  IsmetaIn my country I had wonderful life with my family. I had house, property with small garden and yard. In garden all sorts vegetables. In my yard has many sorts flowers I planted. This was beautiful life. Every year I went vacation on Adriatic Sea. Now I am in USA. For me, new world, new life. For me, America unknown. But I hope to be better for me, next time.
  MulaI love my children. I live with my son. English is a new language. I hear English, I don’t understand. First months in America I cry everyday. I cry for my family and my country. Every month it is better.
  SadetaSadeta have two daughters. One daughter married in Germany. She married two days before I come to America. I was sad to leave. I cried. My other daughter live with me in America. I have good health. I like to sing. My friends say I have beautiful voice.
  SmajlMy name is Smajl. I am America seven months. I like English class. I want to learn more English everyday. I like go trips class together.
  SuadaISuadaI live in America 5 years. I like to go downtown. I like to go shopping. I like to watch TV.  I like a lot of flowers.  I have a lot of flowers in my apartment.


Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE)
53 West Jackson, Suite 1340
Chicago, IL 60604
312-461-0812  /  312-461-1466 (fax)