Jenkins has dedicated a large part of her attention back to her native land by establishing The Sanela Diana Jenkins Foundation for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Memory of Irnis Ćatić. The Foundation, which is closely associated with the funding of the medical school at the University of Sarajevo, aims to provide financial support toward establishing Bosnian schools and orphanages. Additionally, it is instrumental in building homes for the country’s poor, supplying emergency aid and relief, and cleaning the country’s lakes and polluted areas.
The Foundation is committed to restoring dignity, prosperity, justice and hope to the country. The Foundation pursues diplomatic, philanthropic, educational and legal initiatives that include rebuilding hospitals, repairing roads, advising Bosnian leaders, funding schools, and donating modern medical equipment, and establishing an international justice center to bring war criminals to account. The Foundation is the largest privately funded Bosnian organization of its kind.
Four years of war brought terror and bloodshed to Bosnia. Fourteen years of “peace” have left the country still struggling to recover. Even now, the future of Bosnia is threatened as European leaders consider undoing key tenets of the landmark Dayton Accord.
Long after the official cessation of hostilities, much of Bosnia and Herzegovina remains a casualty of war. Its people face daily poverty. The illiteracy rate approaches 30%. Access to medical care is limited. The murder of more than 200,000 people has left a generation of orphans. And many of those who perpetrated the chaos remain at large.
The Irnis Ćatić Foundation was established by Sanela Diana Jenkins in 2002 in memory of her 21-year-old brother, who was brutally killed by Serbian forces in the closing days of the Bosnian war. The name of the foundation was later changed to better leverage Sanela’s other charitable and human rights endeavors.
The Foundation shares Irnis Ćatić’s vision for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He believed in a nation built on the principle of tolerance, where children grow up free from the fears bred by ignorance and poverty. The Foundation believes a prosperous Bosnia requires certain tangibles—good schools, transparent government, dependable hospitals, safe roads, reliable justice—and the projects we fund reflect that principle.
The Foundation has supported or fully funded more than 100 projects since 2004, with a special emphasis on rebuilding Bosnia’s devastated medical and educational infrastructures. Among the projects receiving Foundation support:
After spreading projects widely across Bosnia, the Foundation in recent months has targeted the cities of Mostar and Gorazde. In Mostar, the Foundation is delivering laparoscopic surgical instruments to Regional Medical Centre. In Gorazde, the Foundation is donating computer equipment to all elementary schools and promoting computer science competitions to help motivate students.
Irnis Ćatić was born in Sarajevo, where he studied economics before the Bosnian war engulfed his homeland. Just few days before the Dayton Accord ended the war, Irnis was murdered by Serb forces in a village in western Bosnia. He was 21.
Like far too many young Bosnians, his dreams of raising a family and embarking on a prosperous career ended too soon. His older sister, Sanela Diana Jenkins, wanted to capture Irnis’s love and hope for Bosnia with the establishment of the Foundation. With the advice and guidance of her parents, Smail and Rasida Ćatić, Sanela is able to make her brother’s dreams a reality through the projects funded by the Foundation.