Many families affected by the Bosnian war are living in deep poverty and are still feeling the effects of having their lives torn apart. Unable to repair their homes, families have been living in substandard and squalid conditions. To help support vulnerable families in Bosnia, Islamic Relief have been running a project to help repair and furnish the homes of those who were affected by the Srebrenica massacre.
After the Bosnian war, many families were left devastated, homeless and without any source of income. As well as losing loved ones, many living in Srebrenica were forced to flee their homes for safety, leaving everything behind. 26 years later, sadly many families are still suffering from the aftermath of having their lives uprooted. After the war had ended, families attempted to return to their homes, but found they had been destroyed amid the conflict.
Since the end of the war in 1995, Islamic Relief has worked to repair 700 houses in Bosnia. In our latest project, we are repairing 42 homes. Work includes fixing roofs and floors and ensuring houses have the facilities they need for families to live comfortably.
“1 month before the war, my husband who was a builder, went to Italy for work,” says mother-of-4 Tima from Potocari, Srebrenica. “I was left alone with my children. I didn’t hear from him for 6 years, and I didn’t know whether he was alive.
“Later, I was told that he was alive in Germany. But at the time, I struggled to provide for my family. I would work all day just to earn enough to give my children a piece of bread.”
Then the war began, and the family’s situation became perilous.
“The situation in Srebrenica at the time was unspeakable. You can’t imagine what it was like to be in that situation. I had to escape with my children,” explains Tima, who fled with her children.
“When I returned, my house had been destroyed in the fighting. Everything had been taken from inside, and the house was devastated.
“I did not have water or electricity.
“We were frightened when we retuned and worried about the future.
“Many people lost their lives in the violence. I lost 42 members from my extended family. Before, there were so many people and children in Srebrenica. The streets were full of life. However, when I returned there was no-one and we were struggling.
“Then one woman come to us and told us about Islamic Relief’s work. She told us to send our papers to the organisation and that they would help us.
“After we did this, they called us and offered to help.
“I was young at the time, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. It is thanks to God that good people exist and I was very grateful, because it’s rare to find such people.
“Islamic Relief then helped repair my home. They constructed a room, hallway and bathroom so that we could live comfortably. They even sent me firewood for cooking and heating.
“My wish is to give thanks to the people who help others in this and after life, because I know what it’s like to struggle with daily life.
“I am grateful for Islamic Relief’s help, but I still need further support to live well. I need a septic tank and my roof needs repairing”, says Tima.
Islamic Relief has been a lifeline for those affected by the Bosnian war
Islamic Relief, one of the first international aid agencies in Bosnia to respond when war broke out in 1992, helped throughout the fighting. In total, we delivered over 7,000 tonnes of aid. When the conflict ended we began restoring homes, schools and health centres and helped families to earn a living once more.
To this day, Islamic Relief supports people who were forced from their homes and communities. We continue to do all we can to support vulnerable communities across the globe.
With your support, Islamic Relief can provide even more support to those affected by the Bosnian war and to help people change their lives – and their futures. Donate now.