“This is the first time in my life that I sleep on a new mattress,” Ifeta and Dževad Omerović, Zagreb, Croatia

Ifeta Omerovic was born in the small village of Vlasinje, in the municipality of Mrkonjic Grad, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She lived there with her parents and 6 siblings, in a big village house. They had an orchard and were growing vegetables as well as cattle behind the house. Ifeta’s father was working in Split, Croatia, so when they were forced to leave their house in July 1992, they came to Split, hoping to find help. They arrived in a truck, during the night, and were not allowed to bring along any of their belongings. The truck left the family at the port in Split, where one relative found them and took to his house. After a while, they moved to an old, abandoned house in a suburb and stayed there for over a year, when a grenade hit the house – so they had to leave again. The family was living for a few years in a small room in the attic of a house, eating in a public kitchen. Ifeta and one of her sisters found a job in a local mosque, which helped them survive.

She met her husband Dževad, a refugee from BiH, and they got married in 2001. Their daughter was born in 2002 and their son in 2005. The four-member family lived in rented apartments, and Dževad was accepting any odd jobs – deliveries on a bike, construction works, taxi driver – in order to provide for his family. In 2016, their daughter got ill with an autoimmune disease. UNHCR helped with hospital bills, as they did not have any health insurance.

They heard about the possibility to get an RHP apartment in Zagreb, but did not have much hope. They nevertheless collected all the required documentation and applied. In the spring of 2017, the Omerovic family moved into a three-bedroom apartment in a new building in Zagreb. “I am 44 years old and this is the first time in my life that I sleep on a new mattress,” said Ifeta, still unable to believe this.

  • 4 Dec, 2018
  • Jovan

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