Vulnerable Roma families, members of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, move into newly reconstructed homes that will warm their winters.
For many years, Alija, 55, lived in a home with cracked walls, leaking ceilings, and no isolation with her husband and three children aged 12, 14, and 21. Unemployed and with little income, they could not afford repairs, and were forced instead to risk their health during harsh winters in their cold, draughty house.
Their story is just one of many as majority of Roma people live in chronic poverty.
But this winter, Alija and her family are one of six Roma families whose homes were reconstructed through a project supported by World Vision and the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The reconstruction started in October 2016 and finished two months later, just in time for the worst of the winter weather
“Last year was snowy and windy and we felt cold even inside the house. Now it is warmer. It is warm by night and warm by day in the house,” says Alija, sitting in her newly finished home. “I want to thank those who remembered us.”
Nearby, Dzevad, 50, proudly points to his new home. “This is my house,” he says, flashing a wide, toothless smile, as he stands in the deep snow blanketing his yard. For Dzevad, who is almost completely blind, the difference between is staggering: for the first time in his life, he has electricity in his house. “The difference is like night and day,” he reports.
Working with the Roma people to improve their living conditions is one of strategic focuses of World Vision in Bosnia and Herzegovina, For more than twenty years, World Vision has been working to help children, their families, and their communities overcome poverty and injustice to reach their full potential.