Micro-loans to help families improve their homes
March 2, 2006
The Bogdanovski family is the first to renovate their home with the help of Home Improvement Fund.
Dejan Bogdanovski used to live in the village of Aracinovo, close to Skopje, where two generations lived together in a house—Dejan’s parents, his wife and their three year old son Stefan.
In the civil conflict that struck Macedonia in 2001 his house was badly damaged so the family moved to another village and started building a new home.
They did not have a lot of money to put in so they couldn’t make a decent floor or toilet. When winter came and temperatures fell below zero, it was impossible to stay there so the family moved into a state shelter until spring.
Home Improvement Fund
Habitat in Macedonia is helping people like Dejan: working people living in substandard conditions who have the will to change their lot but need some assistance.
In partnership with the local affiliate of Opportunity International (Moznosti), Habitat established a Home Improvement Fund. Its aim is to help families renovate or repair their substandard housing. Families receive small loans from the Fund which they then repay over the next five years with subsidized interest rates. By 2009, Habitat plans to serve 328 families through these micro-loans.
With the help of a micro-loan, Dejan managed to renovate his home in just a few months. The entire family put in hard work into changing the floor and building a bathroom. Their house is finally warm and ready for the new family member who is on the way.
Macedonia has been going through political and economic transition since leaving the Yugoslav federation in 1992. Although it was the only former Yugoslav republic to gain independence peacefully, its transition from a centrally-planned into a market economy has been ridden with problems.
Growing fractures within Macedonian society flared into a brief but violent civil conflict that ended in late 2001. A political agreement is still in implementation.
According to the official statistics, about 12% of Macedonians live in substandard conditions but the real figure is thought to be much higher. Since average families cannot afford to buy new homes due to the hard financial conditions that need to be met, many families live in their parents’ houses.
Many generations living in one house is a frequent phenomenon. In Macedonia’s cities, the average age of buildings is about 30 years and, due to the poor maintenance, they are in need of immediate renovation.
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