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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered immense damage during the 1992-95 war, with a quarter of a million deaths alongside material losses. 25 years later, political tensions continue to stifle widespread socio-economic reforms, with the region remaining one of the poorest countries in Europe. At Islamic Relief, we’re working to lift families out of poverty and build a sustainable future for themselves.

Although economic progress has been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many families still lack a permanent home after having lost theirs during the conflict. Unemployment is high, particularly among the younger population and families lack financial stability.

A young girl smiling

The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Daily life is challenging for many families across the region.


of the population are unemployed (ILO, 2017)


young people are unemployed (UNDP, 2017)


of people live below the national poverty line (WHO, 2016)

Islamic Relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Islamic Relief Bosnia was set up in 1992, making us one of the first international organisations to deliver humanitarian aid and emergency relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Initially we focused on providing lifesaving aid including food and survival items during the Bosnian War, which began in 1992. 

1992 also saw Islamic Relief establishing an orphan sponsorship programme which continues to assist vulnerable children to this day.

When the war ended in 1995, we helped rebuild homes, provided scholarships to vulnerable young adults, and implemented water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. In 2001 we set up an interest-free loans system based on Islamic finance, which continues to help people to improve their living conditions, earn a reliable living and escape poverty. 

Islamic Relief in action

Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered immense damage during the Bosnian War, which took around 98,000 lives and injured many more, often leaving people with disabilities. To help, in 1993 Islamic Relief launched a project that provided orthopaedic aids to help people regain their mobility and improve their quality of life. The scheme ran alongside emergency response projects – including shelter, food, water, clothing and medical supplies distribution – and ended in 1999.

Currently, Islamic Relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina is focused scholarships for more than 1,600 orphans plus providing humanitarian aid and development projects, which include support in agriculture and livestock development for improved livelihood of socially disadvantaged people, Ramadan food packages, distributing qurbani meat, repairing flood damage, reconstructing residential buildings damaged by floods or landslides.

ISLAMIC RELIEF staff member stands in a field with sheep in the background
Image: An Islamic Relief aid worker preparing for Qurbani programme.

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