Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered immense damage during the 1992-95 war, with a quarter of a million deaths alongside material losses. 25 years later, political tensions continue to stifle widespread socio-economic reforms, with the region remaining one of the poorest countries in Europe. At Islamic Relief, we’re working to lift families out of poverty and build a sustainable future for themselves.
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:
Islamic Relief first started working here in 1992 during the Bosnian War. We were one of the first international organisations to deliver humanitarian aid and emergency relief in the country, delivering food, water, and clothes.
Working with local people and communities, we rebuilt homes, schools and public buildings which had been destroyed, and began providing support during Ramadan and Qurbani, which continues to this day.
We focus a large proportion of our work on supporting single-parent families and orphans, as these are amongst the most vulnerable groups across the region. Alongside our ongoing one-to-one orphan sponsorship programme, we also provide psychosocial assistance to children and families who have been traumatised during and after the brutal conflict.
We have also provided interest-free loans, based on Islamic finance models, to support single mothers set up their own businesses and rebuild their homes. When the loans are repaid to Islamic Relief, we lend the money once again to other individuals, allowing us to use one single donation 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.