Beneficiaries Beneficiaries

As a consequence of the armed conflicts in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Over the past two decades, sustained efforts on the part of the four affected states, as well as support from the international community, have enabled the majority of those affected to return home or find other durable solutions. However, despite these efforts, a large number of people remain displaced throughout the region.

The process of selecting beneficiaries is a crucial element of the RHP. Its purpose is to ensure that RHP housing units are provided to those refugees and IDPs that are most vulnerable and most in need. Potential beneficiaries are informed about the RHP thanks to the wide information campaigns conducted by the Partner Countries since March 2013, in close coordination with UNHCR and OSCE

Beneficiary stories

The stories of RHP beneficiaries below aim at capturing the reality of refugee families who have lived in tents and containers, moved from one relative to another, or managed to build at least some kind of a roof over their heads, during the past two decades. Some of the pictures are kindly provided by the UNHCR.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Josepka and Tomislav Pecirep, Vareš, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Republic of Croatia

Ruža Puškar, Topusko, Croatia

Montenegro

Dušan Đurović, Nikšić, Montenegro

Republic of Serbia

Dobrinka and Janko Marić, Smederevska Palanka, Serbia

Pranjić and Hrustić families, Sapna, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dragica Brković, Topusko, Croatia

Branko Slavić, Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Mirjana and Ivan Pantić Rancinger, Stanišići, Serbia

Nuriz and Senada Mehmedović, Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Mirela Božurić, Petrinja, Croatia

Mirjana Golić, Berane, Montenegro

Miloš Drakulić, Sombor, Serbia

Branko and Dušanka Glišić, Ajdanovići, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dušan and Branka Janjić, Šljivovac, Croatia

Laura Buca Sota, Berane, Montenegro

Zorana and Vasilije Joknić, Batočina, Serbia

Films

Categories of Beneficiaries Eligible for Support

The following priority categories have been identified by the Partner Countries, together with the UNHCR:

I.

All 1991-1995 refugees, regardless of their status, who are residents of collective centres or other forms of collective accommodations, either formal or informal.

IV.

Displaced persons accommodated in collective centres and private accommodations in Croatia.

II.

All 1991-1995 vulnerable refugees accommodated privately and all former occupancy right holders without a durable solution in their country of origin or reception country. For the purpose of the Regional Housing Programme, the vulnerability criteria applied by UNHCR in countries in the region are also to be applied here.

V.

Vulnerable displaced persons outside collective centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

III.

All vulnerable returnees to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and all vulnerable returnees who have already returned to Croatia but who do not have a durable solution either in the country of origin or in the reception country.

VI.

Vulnerable persons displaced in Montenegro in 1999. This was especially agreed by the participating countries given that the Regional Housing Programme in other countries deals only with 1991-1995 refugees.

Josepka and Tomislav Pecirep, Vareš, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Josepka Pecirep and her 22-year-old son Tomislav are the beneficiaries of a new Regional Housing Programme (RHP) apartment in Vareš, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). During the 1990s conflicts, Josepka left Vareš and moved to Kiseljak, in central BiH. Despite spending 20 years in Kiseljak, she secretly longed to return to her hometown of Vareš...

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Ruža Puškar, Topusko, Croatia

Ruža Puškar is a returnee from Montenegro to Croatia. After the war in Croatia ended, she returned to Topusko with her one-year-old daughter. As a single mother, Ruža and her two daughters, Ivana and Dragana, moved between different accommodation several times in Glina and Topusko. Before receiving their new apartment, they lived as tenants in a small apartment of less than 20 m2 in Topusko, with only one room and a tiny kitchen...

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Dušan Đurović, Nikšić, Montenegro

Dušan Đurović was born on 15 February 1931, in Nikšić, Montenegro, where he finished elementary school. His childhood was marked by the loss of his father at a very early age, and growing up, he took care of his mother and sister. Dušan spent most of his working life in Germany, where he earned money working on various construction sites. After returning to Montenegro, he worked as a taxi driver until his retirement...

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Dobrinka and Janko Marić, Smederevska Palanka, Serbia

In 1992, Dobrinka Marić moved with her husband and three small children to Smederevska Palanka, Serbia, from Olovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she had worked as an accountant for the municipal administration. They chose Smederevska Palanka as Dobrinka’s sister had settled there a few years earlier, when she got married...

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Pranjić and Hrustić families, Sapna, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In January 2022, nine beneficiary families moved into new Regional Housing Programme (RHP) apartments in the municipality of Sapna in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Although, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no public ceremony could take place to commemorate the occasion, the significance of the moment was certainly not lost on all those concerned...

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Dragica Brković, Topusko, Croatia

Dragica Brković is the proud owner of an apartment purchased in Topusko, Croatia, under the Regional Housing Programme. Although retired, she feels fit and well, enabling her to work as a seasonal labourer on the Adriatic coast each summer. Every day, she briskly walks three laps around the lake. “I feel healthy here, surrounded by the beautiful nature. I am very happy, and will stay here for the rest of my life. I can’t stop smiling,” she laughs...

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Branko Slavić, Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Branko was born in the village of Dobric in the municipality of Široki Brijeg in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prior to the war, Branko, who has health issues, worked in Mostar as a mathematics and physics teacher, before becoming an expert associate in pedagogical documentation and statistical data processing at Mostar’s Pedagogical Institute...

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Mirjana and Ivan Pantić Rancinger, Stanišići, Serbia

RHP beneficiary Mirjana Pantić was born in Malo Crniće, in Serbia. In 1968, Mirjana moved to Osijek, Croatia, where she met Ivan Rancinger, who would soon become her husband. Mirjana and Ivan, together with their daughter, fled from Croatia in 1995. The couple recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. “I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through what we have been through,” says Ivan, recalling the conflict in the region...

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Nuriz and Senada Mehmedović, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nuriz and Senada Mehmedović first met in a refugee collective centre shortly after fleeing to Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from the nearby municipality of Zvornik. The centre was an old primary school, where 30 people lived in each classroom. Searching for safety, the young couple moved between sub-standard accommodation over the years, before marrying in 1998 and finally settling down in an abandoned house...

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Mirela Božurić, Petrinja, Croatia

Before the earthquake struck, we heard wolves howling. I was in our barn, and could not escape. The chimneys of our new house next door crashed to the ground,” Regional Housing Programme beneficiary Mirela Božurić, from Petrinja, Croatia, vividly recalls the moment that her region was struck by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, in December 2020. That night, Mirela and her family...

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Mirjana Golić, Berane, Montenegro

Mirjana welcomed us with a broad smile, explaining that she considered herself to be fortunate, as she had healthy children and grandchildren, a good job and a beautiful apartment. One could never guess that she had not only survived war in ex-Yugoslavia with her two (at the time) very young daughters, but also a serious bus accident, which left her in a coma for 10 days and one side of her body temporarily paralyzed...

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Miloš Drakulić, Sombor, Serbia

Miloš Drakulić grew up near Karlovac, in the Kordun region of Croatia. “We had a good life prior to the war – we lacked nothing“, Miloš recalls. When war broke out in 1991, however, Miloš, his brother, parents and grandparents fled to Vranje in Serbia, with only 50 German marks in their pockets. “Luckily, I am a child from the countryside, skilled in many things, so I managed to get along“, he says...

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Branko and Dušanka Glišić, Ajdanovići, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Branko Glišić and his wife Dušanka are returnees to the village of Ajdanovići in Olovo municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). As beneficiaries of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP), the  Glišićs received a new house on the site of their former home, which had been destroyed after Branko, his wife and two children fled to the eastern region of BiH in 1995...

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Dušan and Branka Janjić, Šljivovac, Croatia

Dusan was born in the small village of Sljivovac, in the municipality of Vrgin Most, Croatia. He lived with his parents and siblings in an old family house surrounded by a big forest, up in the hills of Sisak-Moslavina County. In his 20s, Dusan left for Germany and worked there as a construction worker for a couple of years. When he returned, he got married and started a family of his own, but continued sharing the old house with his parents...

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Laura Buca Sota, Berane, Montenegro

Laura is a young single mother of two schoolchildren, who came from Klina, Kosovo, in 1999 with her parents and siblings. Since then she has been living in a collective centre in Berane, built by UNHCR in 1995 as a temporary solution for refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Later, it also became a home for internally displaced persons from Kosovo...

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Zorana and Vasilije Joknić, Batočina, Serbia

For RHP beneficiary Zorana Joknić, an unwavering focus on her family’s welfare has sustained her throughout some difficult times. “We’ve lived in substandard housing in several places,“ she says with a wry smile. “I learned that as long as my children were healthy, it didn’t matter where I lived.” Zorana’s displacement began in 1992, when she and her husband Vasilije fled their hometown of Zavidovići in central Bosnia and Herzegovina...

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