History of Country
Legacy of war
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s infrastructure and economy was devastated by a three-year war in the 90s. The brutal conflict – in which 250,000 people are thought to have died and which displaced almost half of the population– centred on whether Bosnia should become independent or remain part of the then Yugoslav Federation. It is now an independent state under international administration.
One of Europe’s poorest countries
Ranked 81 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index, Bosnia is classed as upper middle income but remains among the poorest countries in Europe.
There is a chronic housing shortage, and while the rebuilding of schools, homes and infrastructure has begun, ongoing displacement and the loss of livelihoods are hitting the poorest communities the hardest. Over a quarter of the population is unemployed, and youth unemployment stands at 57 per cent.
Islamic Relief's History
in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Thousands of Bosnians are trying to rebuild their lives after war
We first started working in Bosnia in 1992, during the Bosnian War. We were one of the first international organisations to begin delivering humanitarian aid and emergency relief in the country. Food, clothes, water and firewood were distributed through our offices and warehouses.
In 1993, after the initial emergency response, we rebuilt houses, schools and mosques damaged by the conflict.
In 2001, we set up an interest-free loans system, based upon Islamic finance, which even today is tackling unemployment to give poor people real routes out of poverty. The number of business and housing loans issued by Islamic Relief increases every year – so we benefit more people than ever before in the country.
We also focus our work on orphan support, providing psychosocial assistance to orphaned children and their families – as well as a regular allowance that provides for their basic needs and enables children to go to school.