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Macedonia: Building homes for a better future


Zoran and Zakina Damjanovski and their two boys, Mario and Petar.


The newly constructed complex in Veles will house 24 families.

Picture taken by Austen Fast


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Every morning, Zaklina and Zoran Damjanovksi get up at sunrise to prepare their two boys, Mario and Petar, for school. After they drop them at school, they go to work. Both are employees at small enterprises in Veles, an industrial town in central Macedonia.

The family is trying its best to make ends meet and provide a better future for the boys. However, it is very hard to feel secure and stable without a proper home. For the past two years, Zoran and Zaklina have been renting a small apartment on the top floor of a house in Veles.

The flat is too small for the family of four; the boys have to live in the same room with the parents and do not have any space to study. However, the couple could not afford anything else, as their income from working and selling homegrown vegetables is too small.

Zaklina and Zoran never imagined that they could own a home, though they have always dreamed of being able to offer their children a better place to live. Through a report about Habitat on local TV, they learned about the new construction in Veles. They applied and soon were selected to partner.

“This program in Veles is an excellent opportunity for us to improve our living conditions, especially in the times of the housing crisis here”, says Zaklina. The family hopes that the new Habitat house will be a better environment for Mario and Petar. They will grow in decent conditions and can focus on achieving more at school, as they will have space in a safe environment to study.

Habitat complex in Veles
The building program in Veles was started by Habitat for Humanity Macedonia two years ago. Veles families who are in urgent need of improving their living conditions could apply. They were selected based on their housing need, family income and willingness to work with Habitat.

Since Habitat is not a handout program, all the participants will repay the costs of the apartments over a specified period of time. At the same time, to lower the construction costs and thus the burden on the families who live on low incomes, the future homeowners were required to contribute working hours at the construction site. That is what Zaklina and Zoran did and continue to do.

At the end of April, Habitat for Humanity Macedonia and its partner families signed contracts to formalize the participation in the program. These agreements pave the way for the selected families to move into the homes that will soon be completed by Habitat.

Habitat for Humanity began construction on an entire housing complex in Veles in October 2009. The project plans to provide 11 housing units with 90 apartments. Now, four buildings are nearing completion. They will house 24 families in apartments between 50 and 75 square meters.

You can also help and add a stroke of paint to the house by supporting families’ efforts to finish new homes by the end of this year!

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Macedonia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Make a secure donation in U.S. Dollars to support families in Macedonia
• Make a secure donation in Euros to support families in Macedonia
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in Macedonia.

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