Hilfswerk Austria International (HWA) has constructed a building in Brčko District BiH (BD), containing 18 apartments that are reserved for socially vulnerable Roma families. The action was financed by the European Union and co-funded by the local authorities in BD. On 24th October 2017, Stefan Fritz, the Managing Director of HWA, together with Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, and Siniša Milić, the Mayor of Brčko District BiH, handed over the apartment keys to the Roma families.
Mr. Fritz wished all the best to the beneficiaries in their new apartments and announced the continuation of HWA similar activities in BiH. He also expressed his satisfaction that HWA is actively participating in the Roma families’ inclusion through construction of new homes in BiH and invited international donors and local authorities to persist on this type of support and continue investing in socio-economic integration and better future of socially vulnerable population.
Ambassador Wigemark said that the new facility in Brčko is part of a much larger project, which includes local communities throughout BiH and that construction of houses for Roma families is the foundation of integration into society. He emphasised that full integration of this population into society require other aspects also to be met, such as education, employment and health.
Mayor Siniša Milić emphasised that the Brčko District BiH has been investing a lot of effort in care for the Roma population and underlined that authorities work to develop a concept of social housing as a model and way of providing housing units for all those that need this type of housing.
The housing units were constructed within the Roma Action II project, funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR 2.5 million and co-funded by local authorities. The project will significantly improve living conditions and socio-economic inclusion of 140 vulnerable Roma families in 9 municipalities/cities across BiH (Tuzla, Gračanica, Banovići, Kakanj, Zavidovići, Zenica, Bijeljina, Modriča, Brčko District B&H).
By now 46 housing units are constructed and in total 72 housing units are reconstructed. The project is implemented by Hilfswerk Austria International (HWA) in cooperation with Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB) and the BiH Association Kali Sara – Roma Information Centre.
Brčko District of BiH is one of nine local administrations in the project that strongly support Roma social inclusion. Brčko District BiH is actively participating in the project implementation and is providing co-founding in the amount of 150.000 BAM in addition to the land plot, all necessary permits and infrastructure connections.