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Peggy Barry still remembers the Bosnian War widows trying to support themselves by selling beautiful knitted socks on the street. It was during the 1998-2001 tour of her husband, Robert Barry, in Bosnia and Herzegovina as head of mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Barry decided she wanted to do something to help these war victims. She tracked down a group that had been started in Bosnia in l995 in a Norwegian People’s Aid refugee center, where work-therapy was helping traumatized women adjust to a world in which many of the men were gone. Barry helped to set up a nongovernmental organization in Bosnia to convert the skills of these women into a living wage for them and their families. Barry told the story of these women to her neighbor, Pat Roth, an official at Georgetown University Law Center, who in turn contacted Hogan & Hartson. When she asked, Hogan & Hartson gladly volunteered to help (pro bono) with the U.S. rules for setting up and maintaining a nonprofit corporation. The firm also assisted in obtaining tax-exempt status and counseled on adherence to U.S. tax exemption laws and regulations. The firm also coordinated with Bosnian counsel about Bosnian laws affecting the handicrafts operations. The nongovernmental Bosnian group Bosanske-Rukotvorine (Bosnian Handicrafts) was started and is run in Bosnia by a Bosnian woman, Lejla Radoncic � a travel agent before the war � and five other employees. Assistance has been received from other international organizations, such as Oxfam and UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women. The U.S. nonprofit arm of the organization assists with business, production, arts education, and training for the women to improve their ability to provide income for their families. They are taught handicraft production techniques, textile design, and financial and small business management and marketing. The U.S. corporation also educates Americans about Bosnia and Herzegovina, its cultural history, the effects of its war on women, and the plight of these displaced women. The handicrafts can be purchased on the Bosnian Handicrafts Web site ( www.bosnianhandicrafts.com) as well as in Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in addition to Bosnia. It currently employs more than 700 women from the three major ethnic groups in Bosnia: Muslims (65 percent), Serbs (20 percent), and Croats (15 percent). Reliable monthly payments to the knitters have always been the first priority of Bosnian Handicrafts. The knitters are economically disadvantaged, displaced, or widowed survivors of the Bosnian War who receive training and education to produce handicrafts as a means to support themselves and their families. The group is run primarily by women, helping other women who are the victims of an ethnically motivated war. Thanks to the hard work of a committed U.S. board of directors, Bosnian Handicrafts Inc. organized a fund-raiser last year at the Bosnian Embassy in Washington, hosted by Bosnian Ambassador Igor Danovic. The fund-raiser showed the riveting Bosnian antiwar movie “No Man’s Land,” produced and directed by Danis Tanovic. The proceeds were sent to Bosnia to buy wool and to train new groups of women in the intricacies of producing to the exacting requirements of the Western market. Sales at the Full of Beans store on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, D.C., have generated even more financial support. Bosnian Handicrafts has just received its biggest order yet. Sundance, the catalog company founded by Robert Redford, sold out its first order for socks in a week. Next, Sundance put in the largest order Bosnian Handicrafts has ever received. Bosnian Handicrafts will deliver 3,000 pairs of traditional Bosnian socks, 6,000 Christmas stockings, 250 Christmas tree skirts, and 400 baby socks. The total value of the order is $160,000. Says Radoncic: “This has made it possible for women, mainly refugees from Eastern Bosnia, to earn money working at home to pay for their rehabilitation. This is a rare and valuable example of success, based on tradition and teamwork.” Marcia A. Wiss is a partner in the D.C. office of Hogan & Hartson and a member of the firm’s corporate, securities, and finance group and its project and international finance group.

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