As collectors of discarded goods for over 20 years, the members of the Salihović family are often seen as outcasts in their
hometown of Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. But this family
of seven approaches their daily routine like any other family:
they wake up early, plan their day, and organize themselves in
preparation to perform their usual tasks.

Portrait of Mila (b 2004). She is the only one of her brother and sisters to continue her education and enroll in high school. The eighteen yea rold does not want to work in the family business. She wants to make a change and develop herself.
Mila is returning from school. She loves animals. Dogs she likes a little more because they are carefree like her, while cats she finds to be more cunning.
Father Ahmo started collecting waste in 1997. At that time, the work was mostly done by Roma. He was a respected bricklayer at the time. At the very beginning, he was reserved about starting to collecting waste, but soon he saw the benefits of being his own boss. Ahmo died at the age of 66 on Tuesday, August 9th. A lot will change for the family without him.

This ongoing project entitled simply Mila started in 2014. Of
the family’s five children (four daughters and a son), only Mila
(real name Samila), regularly attends school. Just 11 years old
when this project began, Mila has proven to be a brilliant
problem solver. With her whole life ahead of her, it is uncertain
how her story will unfold, but the project will continue to
document her journey up until she finished her schooling.

The carpet on the swing is drying. Everything that goes to the market and sells, is washed beforehand in order to increase the value.
Older sister Sanela had a plan to go to high school too. She enrolled in high school to
become a Hair Stylist. But she quit her education after three months. Sanela married at the age of 20 to a Roma guy. Her father did not approve of the relationship, but in the end Sanela made up her own mind and got married.
Almedina is Mila’s best friend. Not just a sister. She did not continue here education after primary school. Like every teenager, she considers first love to be the most important thing. She likes to say “Life is short”. Only 17 years old, she got married. Zlatko, now her husband, came to the Salihovic family to ask her mother Melvida for her permission.
Saban, the only son of the five children of the Salihovic family. Ahmo’s father introduced him to the family business already in his teenage years. Saban passed his driver’s license at the age of eighteen and started going to work with his mother every day to collect discarded things. He continues the family business, after his father’s death. Saban trying to organize himself, to ensure the existence of his family. However, business is declining. He started working in a local sawmill, then he returns home and goes to collect waste.
Family house of Salihovici. With the help of good people, a house was built for them with funds from abroad. They moved in December, 2021.
The main source of income is copper collection. The highest price is always on the market.

The Salihovic family is a origin Muslim family from Bijeljina,
provincial center of Semberija, a geographic region in the
northeast Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their case, without a
doubt, goes to show a problem that the world is sliding into
with too much inertia: While this great world thrives, making
every idea that comes to mind possible, the needs of ordinary
people seems to be forgotten. Their story is always
overlooked and, in the meantime, they continue their lives the
only way they know how.

Mila is sitting at the window of her room.

Just 11 years old when this when I met the family, Mila has
proven to be a brilliant problem solver. During the period of
primary school, where he showed interest in acting and sports
,football. All this gradually shaped Mila into the idea of finishing school and finding a job. After elementary school, she enrolled in a three-year Agricultural Technician school. She had
a plan to go to plus one year in order to get a diploma in Food
technician. Unfortunately, after here father’s death, emotionally for the whole family, Mila stopped the educatio, she got a
job thinking that she would help herself and her family more.
Mila even though had plans and wishes, at that moment, she
lost her right to schooling.

Mila’s eyelashes.
Portrait of Mila at school.
Melvida is the main organizer of the collected items that they found. She sets aside goods for Ahmo, what for quick sales and what for the market. Melvida is Ahmo third wife.
The Salihovic are a Muslim family originally from Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many think they are Roma because of the work they do, waste collection and recycling. For a long time, this work was only associated with Roma.
Mila continued her education. After she started work, she continued school only part-time. At this moment it was too expensive for her to pay for schooling. However, with the help of other people, funds were raised for her schooling fee, so she could continue her high school, fourth degree of education. This allows her the possibility to go to university.
Portrait of Habiba, the eldest daughter. She is pregnant and expecting her third child. In winter she spends most of her time at home, which she is not used to. She gave birth to a daughter on February 2023. They named her Ahmedina.
Mevlida stands alone after Ahmo’s death. She is trying to organize her life, continue with the job of collecting waste. All obligations are now on her.
Graduation photos of Mila from elementary school. This year she graduated high school Agricultural Technician. At the end of high school, she did not want to be photographed for the school memories. She does not want her photography as part of the class to end up in the window of one of the clothing stores, as is practiced in Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mitar Simikić, winner 2022 VID Grant.