This house means the world to us

While supporting the recovery from floods and landslides, joint project by European Union and United Nations Development Programme also makes sure that this assistance is aligned with the specific needs of the most vulnerable families.

Saša has difficulty moving and, in all aspects of his life, needs help of people around him. This 38-year old man has been fighting quadriplegia and multiple sclerosis for the past 15 years. Saša lives with his brother Siniša and mother Milica near Šamac, city in north Bosnia and Herzegovina. Just like many others in this area, this family suffered great damages during the record-breaking floods in 2014.

“Water was here for three full days. We escaped to neighbor’s two-story house and stayed there. Once the water subsided, we returned and started cleaning” says Siniša, as Saša sits quietly next to him. Besides the damages made by the floods, the life of family is also made difficult by the fact that their home is not adapted to Saša’s needs. The only entrance to the house is stairs, while additional help is needed for him to move around the house.

Both Milica and Siniša are unemployed, while Saša is recipient of social welfare, and due to this family was not able to afford to repair their home. They applied to the public call for beneficiary selection of the Flood Recovery – Housing Interventions Programme that aims to provide safe housing, as well as economic empowerment to vulnerable families in flood affected communities. Programme, valued at 15 million euro is financed by the European Union in cooperation with entity governments, UNDP and local authorities.

After all conditions for the participation in the Programme were fulfilled, construction began. New home for this family is being built immediately next to the old one, boosting the contrast between “before” and “after”. Unlike the house they are living in now, their new home is adapted to the needs of people with disabilities: the entrance to the house is possible through the ramp, while inside, person in a wheelchair can move without obstacles.

“During the design of the housing units, special attention was paid to the families whose members are people with disabilities in order to make sure that their new homes correspond to their needs” says Selma Kemalović-Alić, Programme manager. “In this way, we aimed to, not only secure safe housing for these families, but also provide their most vulnerable members with the equal opportunities”.

And what new home means for Saša’s family?

“This means a lot for us. It means life” says Siniša.

“It’s like winning a Bingo” Saša interrupts him grinningly.

Flood Recovery – Housing Interventions Programme is financed by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in BiH together with International Organisation for Migrations (IOM), Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), Hilfswerk International (HWI) and partner municipalities and cities.

Through this Programme, 44 local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina affected by floods and landslides will be supported in recovery. It is expected that living conditions of more than 2,800 people whose homes were damaged or destroyed in 2014 will be improved, while almost 200 families will receive support through agricultural, self-employment or employment packages.