Building Resilient Communities in the Balkans
Since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992, the Balkans has seen more than its share of conflict and violence. In some cases, considerable ethnic tension remains between neighboring regions.
Yet considerable progress has been made toward building stability and cementing peace. Thanks to the support of people like you, IOCC has been helping people in this region since 1992 at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In Bosnia today nearly 44% of the work force is unemployed and 17% live in poverty. With your help, IOCC’s work is focused on short-term emergency relief and long-term development projects to help strengthen the country’s economy, and advance its social service capacity.
- Since 2002, we’ve nurtured the entrepreneurial spirit of Bosnians with $19 million in micro loans. Economic growth begins by raising the per capita income of citizens.
- In 2014, the worst flooding in 120 years submerged the region. Your donations made it possible for IOCC to respond with materials for home repairs along with replacement furniture and appliances. Schools were rebuilt, and 35 tons of coal were supplied to keep students warm during the winter.
With the financial support of compassionate people like you, IOCC has been helping the families of Serbia since 1992. And today it includes:
- Providing hot meals and shelter repairs for war refugees flowing into Serbia from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Africa. We're partnering with the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Red Cross of Serbia to meet the needs of this growing population.
- Responding to the floods of 2014 with transportation and quilts for evacuees; emergency clean-up buckets and construction materials to restore hundreds of family homes, replacing roofs and heating systems, and providing replacement teaching materials for a badly damaged primary school near the town of Kladovo. Today, we’re working with the local authorities to upgrade infrastructure to ensure that families in this region stay safe.
- Helping vulnerable communities become safer and more resilient, IOCC is working to reduce the risk of flooding in central Serbia by restoring and upgrading long-abandoned flood control infrastructure. This will protect more than 600 families in two flood-prone villages from seasonal, sometimes catastrophic flooding.
More than 15 years have passed since the armed conflict in Kosovo, but the minority families that returned to their villages still live in isolation and uncertainty. Most are small-scale farmers who struggle to support their families because of limited farm equipment and an unreliable water supply. IOCC is working in cooperation with the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Raska and Prizren, and Visoki Dečani Monastery to ensure a steady source of water for the region's most vulnerable families. The eight wells being dug by IOCC will help make the family farms more productive and help sustain agricultural development for future generations.Photo: Rada Tierney/IOCC
IOCC maintains a field office in capital city of Podgorica, and we’ve been here helping the citizens of Montenegro since 1993.
The influx of more than 20,000 war refugees into this small country of 650,000 residents – along with a severe economic downturn in recent years – has increased the number of people in need of emergency assistance.
Many of the newly needy in Montenegro were self-sufficient in the past, but most are now unemployed for the first time in their lives and depend on food donations and public soup kitchens to survive. In cooperation with the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Montenegro and Littoral, and with donor support, IOCC has rebuilt and equipped two soup kitchens to feed 300 of the area's poorest residents. The existing soup kitchen in Podgorica received minor repairs along with new industrial quality kitchen equipment and cooking tools. In Cetinje, a donated home was reconstructed to accommodate large-scale prepping and cooking areas, as well as a special service window for handing out hot meals.
Your Gift At Work - Meet Maja
Your generosity helped Maja receive a microcredit loan from IOCC. That plus her family recipe for a traditional Bosnian meat pie and years of bakery experience are making her new pastry shop in Novi Grad, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a success. She supports her family of four and her baking assistant earns enough to help fund a son's medical school education.