This is another county in Bosnia and Herzegovina which has been almost completely ruined by transition, leaving behind nothing but havoc. The current population and its buying power aren’t even sufficient to sustain a single kiosk in this local community, which is why the last one was shut down two years ago.
The main driving forces of the development of this underdeveloped local community should be forestry, tourism, as well as agriculture. County mayor Vlado Ostojić confirmed this, emphasizing that due to its natural, climatic, geographical, and other characteristics, Han Pijesak has specific comparative advantages for the development of carpentry. The county of Han Pijesak has a significant construction and cultural heritage. Buildings of ambient architecture from the Austro-Hungarian times, as well as natural and climatic conditions, are convenient for the development of winter and spa tourism, and in the recent years, the increasingly popular ethno tourism and village tourism are things which, according to the mayor, are facing some initiatives and projects. As he said, forestry and carpentry are the driving forces of development, emphasizing that more than 60% of employed citizens of Han Pijesak work in those industries.
For the economic situation in Han Pijesak, the mayor blames “the general political, social, and economic situation in the last thirty years”, adding that “given that Han Pijesak is a small community, negative effects were more prominent, because there was no critical mass to prevent certain processes from happening”.
The nature which surrounds this local community is a true heaven on earth, and Han Pijesak is also known as the habitat of wolves, bears, and deer, which is why the hunting association “Studena Gora”, comprised of 140 hunters, is active here. During our interview with the president of the association Nikola Lazarević, we found out that they have the support and cooperation of local authorities, as well as that they organize a number of activities, from the construction of hunting facilities and hunters’ huts to organizing hunts and social events for hunters.
(The hunting association “Studena Gora”)
The life of the citizens of any local community can’t reach the quality and standard it should without the development of culture and sports. Pavle Golijan, the teacher of Physical Education in the elementary school in Han Pijesak and the coach at the Han Pijesak football club – the older sports community in this county, agrees with this. He claims that only minimal funds are set aside from the local budget for youth and sports, as well as that the unfortunate politics and the “division into political colors” are, among other things, the reasons why people keep leaving.
“As long as politicians and people on high positions in our local community keep refusing to sit together and come up with the solutions to the problems in our county, they won’t and can’t be solved by anyone else”, says Golijanin, who works with three football teams alone, because “nobody else wants to work for 100-150 KM a month”.
There are no kindergartens in Han Pijesak, the excitement of the first day of school was felt by only 23 first-graders, and a request was sent last summer to the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska asking for the permission to work with classes with a decreased number of pupils in the “Vasilije Ostroški” High School division in Han Pijesak, given that instead of the planned twenty pupils, only ten pupils were enrolled by the end of June 2018. Unfortunately, these numbers only show all the agony with which Han Pijesak is faced in the demographical, and every other sense. How does one stop it is the question to be asked by those who are supposed to provide answers. And as promises keep growing, people in Han Pijesak, as in other places, keep leaving.