Habitat for Humanity Macedonia
Habitat's work in Macedonia
Habitat for Humanity in Macedonia
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia began work in 2004. From the outset, it piloted several projects. The Home Improvement Fund was named among the three most innovative development projects worldwide by the Global Development Network, a World Bank affiliated institution. At the same time, the Water Supply and Sanitation project, executed in partnership with local authorities, served almost 100 families in the first two months of its operation.
The housing need in Macedonia
Macedonia has come a long way in its transition from a centrally planned system to a market economy after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. However, much remains to be done to create strong, private-sector-led growth and well-paid jobs. About 80,000 households lack long-term housing solutions, and 12 percent of the housing stock is substandard. The average age of buildings in Macedonia is 30 years, and because of poor maintenance, most are in need of immediate replacement or renovation.
Living conditions for the rural poor are especially bad. The primary need is access to water and proper sewerage. Housing conditions are particularly grave for Roma households. About 320,000 people, almost 15 percent of Macedonia’s population, live in illegally constructed buildings. The capital city, Skopje, hosts squatter settlements of about 120,000. It has the largest Roma community in Europe, which lives in a ghetto-like environment.
How Habitat addresses the need
Habitat Macedonia has developed diverse projects to alleviate the housing need. It strove to create various models to reach a greater number of families and improve the aging housing stock, largely through innovative financial mechanisms.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Macedonia:
- Home improvement fund and Roma housing fund
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia, in cooperation with a local microfinance partner, set up a Home Improvement Fund offering affordable, short-term home improvement loans. Similar model was applied for the Roma Housing Fund project which is serving the vulnerable Roma communities in five different municipalities on the outskirts of the capital Skopje.
- Water supply and sanitation for the underserved
Almost 23 percent of rural communities in Macedonia have no access to clean water. Some municipalities invested into extending pipelines for water and sanitation. However, thousands of families are still not connected to the networks as they have no money to pay the installation fee. Habitat Macedonia offers needy families loans to connect households to portable running water and sanitation pipelines.
- House building
Many families in Macedonia live in overcrowded homes together with parents or grandparents and cannot afford new apartments. To address the need, Habitat has started construction of an entire housing complex in Veles, an industrial city in the center of the country. Since the groundbreaking in 2008, this project has provided new affordable homes for 36 families.
- Energy-efficient homes
Habitat Macedonia provides low-income families with small loans for minor repairs, such as window or door replacements that will maximize energy efficiency of their homes. Even these small repairs can contribute towards better living conditions of these families. ‘Green’, atmosphere-friendly homes will lower the heating costs of the families and decrease energy loss significantly which will show especially on the health of the family members during the winter.
Meet a Habitat family
There is hope and joy in the small house of the Madjarov family in Veles. Sashko Madjarov, his wife Gabriela and their oneyear old daughter Jovana, have been living in a 65-squaremeters house of Sashko’s mother for more than ten years. Sashko and Gabriela decided to address the crucial questions of owning a home.
Sashko works as a professional driver and Gabriela is a sales lady in a Top Shop franchise for the past year and a half. They had small savings that they were willing to invest in becoming a partner family of Habitat for Humanity Macedonia. The good word travels fast, a satisfied partner family of the same project that has already settled down in the apartment talked to Sashko and Gabriela and recommended them to apply for an apartment in the Habitat settlement in Veles.
”There is just not enough space for the seven people from five generations living in the 65 square-meters house. It means a lot to have a home of your own, which is the reason we decided to make this step and apply for the Habitat New Build project,” says Gabriela when asked about the change it will bring to their lives.
What you can do
You can help Macdonian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Macedonia or lead your own. For more information visit: habitat.org/gv
Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 813000, MACEDONIA on your checks sent to: Habitat for Humanity International, Attn: Affiliate Tithe, 121 Habitat St. Americus, GA 31709
To learn more about Habitat projects in Macedonia, please contact us.
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia
Kalina Sejfula, Public and Donor Relations Specialist
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Joachim Ramakers, Program Manager
Main country facts: Gained independence in September 1991
Population: More than 2 million
Urbanization: 80 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 74 years
Unemployment rate: 30 percent
Population living below poverty line: 30 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Macedonia
When the program started: 2004
Families served: More than 5,800 families in housing and over 18,600 in non-financial support services
Volunteers hosted: More than 1,200
Housing Solutions: New homes, Energy-efficiency, Water and sanitation, Housing microfinance