There was a jubilant atmosphere in the municipality of Derventa in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on February 12, 2020 as Regional Housing Programme (RHP) stakeholders and beneficiaries gathered for a ceremony to mark the delivery of keys to new RHP-financed homes to a further 30 refugee and displaced families.
The event was hosted by the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, together with the municipality of Derventa, represented by Dževad Mahmutović, Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, and Milorad Simic, the Mayor of Derventa. Also present were Marko Acic, Acting Director of the Republic Secretariat of Displaced Persons and Migration of the Republika Srpska, and Vassilis Petrides, Head of Unit of the RHP Project Management Team at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), which manages RHP implementation support.
Deputy Minister Mahmutovic expressed thanks to the RHP donors – particularly the European Union, as the main donor to the Programme – in addition to the municipality of Derventa, which had also financially contributed to the project. “These 30 families have spent 25 years searching for housing solutions,” he said. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is fully committed to the RHP, which aims to provide homes for about 3 200 refugee and displaced families in this country alone.”
Vassilis Petrides congratulated the beneficiaries on their new homes, adding: “In addition to our donors – namely the EU – the RHP would simply not have been possible without the strong cooperation and commitment of all actors involved, such as the partner countries and partner organisations, in addition to the entities and municipalities in BiH”.
The final word, however, went to the beneficiaries themselves. On behalf of the families, Radoslav Bendjo announced: “I thank all of the donors from the bottom of my heart. We are so relieved to no longer have to live in damp conditions! We have a decent home at last.”