Bosnia and Herzegovina: Social protection and inclusion

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Social protection and inclusion

PIN has a long history of supporting people with disabilities and transforming social service provision in the Balkans and southern Europe where people with disabilities share common challenges and face similar obstacles. Many countries in this region share a legacy of Soviet-influenced social policies which focus on segregated, state-run institutionalised care. As such, PIN has been working to translate positive experience gained in the Czech Republic to other countries and contexts in south-east Europe, including BiH.

Our efforts in BiH focus on bringing about long-term change and the transformation of the system and services for people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. The present system of social welfare in BiH does not reflect modern approaches to welfare and human rights for citizens with disabilities. PIN’s social inclusion projects in BiH aim at reducing discrimination, promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities, and ultimately replacing large-capacity residential institutions with Independent Living services that support people with disabilities to live, work and socialise freely in their society.


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Ongoing aid

Support of inclusion of persons with disabilities into the society

Support of inclusion of persons with disabilities into the society

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the main problem in dealing with persons with disabilities (PwD) is the predominant emphasis on segregation and institutionalisation without adequate personal approach and individual care. Upon admission to a residential institution, people are often stripped of legal capacity and, along with that, of the possibility to decide about their own lives. Persons with disabilities are denied the opportunity to integrate into the society and the mainstream society is deeply biased against them.

In the years 2015-2018, People in Need, together with three selected local NGOs (SUMERO in Sarajevo, Sunce in Mostar and Zajedno in Banja Luka), sought to change this system through deinstitutionalisation and to run an awareness campaign to help the public to overcome their prejudices. As part of their joint project, People in Need mainly provided transfer of the Czech Republic's know-how and examples of good practice in this area. One of the main outcomes was the support to its clients to move from residential institutions to independent (community) housing that can provide them more dignified social conditions and that increases their chances of self-realisation. Some of the clients used opportunity to upgrade their professional skills, gained new work experience and applied it on the labour market.

The activities of PIN continue in 2019. Students of law, psychology and social works from the Universities in Sarajevo and Banja Luka will be better educated in the field of self-advocacy of PwD. They will also establish a direct cooperation with PwD who are fighting for their rights. Together, the students and self-advocacy groups will create the educative materials and, through media, work on raising awareness within the Bosnian society. Next activity planned is to establish a negotiation process about self-advocacy legislation with the politicians on the entity level.
 

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