Twenty-two years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many citizens still do not live in their homes. Once refugees and today the so-called internally displaced persons – many are still waiting to feel again the warmth of their own home.
Senada and Izudin Tešnjak from Prijedor do not have to wait any longer.
Surrounded by future neighbours and other citizens of Bosanski Petrovac, they stand together holding hands tight in front of a new building in this small town in the west of the country. Years of poor accommodation, tenant life and rent payments are now behind them.
Thanks to the help of the European Union, as the largest donor of the Regional Housing Program, they moved into a new apartment in Bosanski Petrovac. They are one of the twenty families who received keys to their new homes 25 May.
After the handover ceremony, Senada and Izudin entered the building and headed to the apartment number 16.
“This is a new beginning for me and my husband. After all these years living as subtenants, we finally again have a roof over our heads that we can call home“, said Senad, who could not hide tears.
Their new neighbor, Ekrem Tica, forty-two years old, also left Prijedor during the war. As a man who has experienced many difficult situations in his life, he found it hard to believe in one positive event.
“I simply couldn’t believe I was going to be given the apartment. I was afraid something was going to happen, as things normally tend to happen”, said Ekrem contentedly while shaking hands with his new neighbors.
Senada, Izudin and Ekrem are among hundreds of refugees and displaced persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina who were awarded apartments or their houses were built or reconstructed within the Regional Housing Program.
So far in Bosnia and Herzegovina more than 450 housing units have been built under the Program and the goal is to eventually build or reconstruct approximately 2500 houses or apartments.
As the single largest donor of the Regional Housing Program the European Union so far provided EUR 49 million for housing of the most vulnerable families across Bosnia and Herzegovina.