The handover of the two newly constructed social housing buildings that took place in Banovići on 19 June marks a new beginning for 8 local Roma families. Thanks to the Roma Action project, which is funded by the European Union and co-funded by local authorities, Roma families who lived in bad and unhealthy conditions will finally have a decent home and a normal life.
Khaldoun Sinno, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to BiH, emphasised that the EU was determined to assist BiH to ensure equal rights and better future for all its citizens, and also underlined that BiH institutions have joint responsibility to improve Roma integration and inclusion. “The EU invested BAM 10 million since 2013 in this project and we have built and reconstructed many housing units for Roma families. We are now in the second phase of the project. Last month we have already delivered new apartments to Roma families in Kakanj Municipality and we will continue doing so in the seven more municipalities. This is a concrete sign of improving your lives and enabling you to have the same opportunities and chances as any other citizen in BiH", Sinno said.
Mayor of Banovići Municipality Midhat Husić underlined the efforts made by the Municipality towards finding housing solutions for Roma citizens. „In the past 3 to 4 years we have managed several significant projects related to Roma housing and constructed nearly 30 housing units. Today we are opening 2 social buildings with 8 housing units. I wish to thank our partners who contributed to the construction of these projects and congratulate all beneficiaries for their new homes”, said Husić.
Head of the Department for Minorities of the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees Želimir Lalić, underlined that the Ministry will continue its support to Roma integration in BiH. „.Roma integration includes many important components such as social protection, education, employment, but the housing issue is the foundation stone of a decent life. The Ministry will continue supporting Roma integration in all these 4 components not only in Banovici but in other municipalities in BiH as well“, said Lalić.
Hilfswerk Austria International Country Director for BiH Suzana Jašarević, emphasised that thanks to the EU funding and the local co-funding eight Roma families in Banovići have significantly improved their lives. "The key first step is done, from homelessness to being a tenant in a modern flat what is an excellent starting point for a decent inclusive social living”, said Jašarević.
The project will significantly improve living conditions and socio-economic inclusion of 140 vulnerable Roma families in 9 targeted municipalities (Tuzla, Gračanica, Banovići, Kakanj, Zavidovići, Zenica, Bijeljina, Modriča, Brčko District BiH). Two buildings in Banovići are part of ten buildings with 68 apartments that will be constructed for the Roma families within the Roma Action project.
The ROMA ACTION Project is financed by the European Union in the amount of € 2.500.000 and co-funded by local authorities in the amount of € 327.227 (or BAM 640.000). The Project is implemented by Hilfswerk Austria International, in partnership with Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland e.V (ASB) and Kali Sara – RIC Association.
Banovići municipality is one of nine municipalities/cities in the project that strongly support Roma social inclusion. The municipality is actively participating in the project implementation and is providing co-founding in the amount of BAM 40.000 in addition to the land plot, all necessary permits and infrastructure connections. FBiH Ministry of displaced persons and refugees has allocated BAM 100.000 for seven project municipalities in the Federation of BiH.