In the long term we hope the Halfway House project will become financially self-sustainable. The aim is to set up income-generating businesses which will provide training opportunities for the beneficiaries, as well as pay for the project's operations. Because of this, we needed to register a new local organisation which will be legally responsible for the project’s activities.
This has proven to be very difficult indeed. We have spent many hours in meetings with lawyers and local officials. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s legal and administrative framework is still relatively immature and hampered by ethnic and political divisions. Never-the-less, we remain committed and continue to work to obtain the registration we need.
Until the registration is complete we are severely limited in what we can do. We cannot accept any beneficiaries for example. But some significant progress has been made in other areas – starting with the recruitment of the local team who will manage and run the project.
Our first appointment was Mirjana who is our Project Director. She has been leading the registration process on the ground in Mostar, supported by our team in the UK. She has also been making contact with local businesses and organisations who will partner with us to provide training and job opportunities for the beneficiaries.
We also appointed Ivan to look after the facility and Sanela as Education Coordinator. Sanela will be responsible for arranging the education and training programs, and working closely with the beneficiaries to create individual development plans. This is a very important part of the project’s design. We are not providing a free home. The aim is for the beneficiaries to become accustomed to the realities of life outside of institutional care and to that end we will require all of them to seek employment or enroll in our training programs or some other educational course. If they are in training or education then we will support them, but if they are earning an income then they will contribute to the cost of the home.
We have also formed a partnership with the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (FSCI). They have been running projects like this under their "House of Opportunity" program in Bulgaria for many years and have developed a wealth of knowledge and experience which they have now used to create a strategic program for regional development. A region-wide program will be eligible for larger grants and investment, and ultimately the partners will achieve much more together than they could on their own. Our Kids will benefit from their experience and training, and we will help to promote and develop the program for the benefit of the entire Balkan region.
Our two organisations are very well aligned and we’re delighted to have signed a formal agreement of mutual support with them.
Left to right: Sanela, Ivan, Chris (FSCI), Russ and Mirjana
Left to right: Sanela, Ivan, Annette (FSCI), Russ and Mirjana