Although economic progress has been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many families still lack a permanent home after having lost theirs during the conflict. Unemployment is high, particularly among the younger population and families lack financial stability.
Daily life is challenging for many families across the region:
- Over a quarter of the population are unemployed (ILO, 2017)
- 1 in 2 young people are unemployed (UNDP, 2017)
- Around 17% of people live below the national poverty line (WHO, 2016)
- Girls are 10% more likely to attend higher education than boys (UNDP, 2017)
Islamic Relief in Bosnia Herzegovina
Islamic Relief starting working in Bosnia Herzegovina during the war, providing vital emergency assistance, delivering food, water and clothes. Following the war, we rebuilt homes, schools and public buildings which had been destroyed, and began providing support during Ramadan and Korban, which continues to this day.
Due to the high death count, we focus a lot of our work on supporting single-parent families and orphans, as these are amongst the most vulnerable groups. Alongside our one-to-one orphan sponsorship programme, we have also provided extensive psychosocial assistance to children and families who have been traumatised by what they went through during and since the conflict ended.
Small business set-up
In an effort to improve the opportunities for employment, we also provide interest-free loans, based on Islamic finance models, to help people set up their own businesses as well as rebuild their homes. Without our support, they might never have got the opportunity, but as the loans are repaid, and the repayment rate is above 90%, we lend the money out again to another family, which means that one donation is used to help family after family.
Most recently, we have also launched a project to provide fruit drying machines to local widows. Thanks to these machines, local families can produce dried fruits for sale after the growing season. In addition, we also support a local greenhouse project to provide sustainable livelihoods to local women. Women engaged in the project are able to grow and sell vegetables to maintain a stable income. Without our support, these communities may never have gained such a valuable opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.