Scholarships for Refugee Students from the Municipality of Ilidža
08 februar 2023
The implementation of the project continued this school year, and a total of 6 schoolchildren will receive the annual scholarship
The new Agreement on the allocation of financial resources to support education, which the Municipality of Ilidža signed with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will ensure scholarships for BiH schoolchildren as well as refugees and persons under subsidiary protection. The Municipality of Ilidža, in cooperation with CRS, has been implementing for the second year this activity through the project “Support to persons under international protection, including financial aid” financed by UNHCR. The implementation of the project continued this school year, and a total of 6 schoolchildren will receive the annual scholarship, four from the Municipality of Ilidža, one from Bihać and one from Zenica.
The project aims at the socio-economic empowerment of refugees and persons under subsidiary protection, through employment and self-employment, professional training and, in this case, support for school-aged children.
“We are aware that education is one of the key factors in integration, and we are glad that we can provide support to people with international protection in this way, especially the youngest ones. Our goal is to reward regular attendance of classes with these scholarships and to encourage other young users to study. We are especially grateful to the local community, the Municipality of Ilidža, which recognized the importance of these processes and became our partner”, said Samir Softić, project manager.
Scholarships are extremely important, primarily because they provide more opportunities to those who have the desire to study but do not have enough financial resources for their education. “Last year, we conducted interviews with scholarship recipients, who expressed their satisfaction with this type of financial assistance, because in most cases the children’s parents are not employed, and this kind of help with scholarship means a lot to them,” points out Sejda Topalović, assistant to the municipal mayor for labor, social issues, healthcare, refugees and displaced persons, and added “Local communities are the ones that have direct contact with their fellow citizens, which is why they are crucial for the realization of such projects. The municipality of Ilidža has been cooperating with CRS for many years, and this scholarship agreement is just an extension of excellent cooperation to mutual satisfaction.”
Municipal officials are in regular contact with school secretaries to ensure that the children receive regular education and that the scholarship funds are used appropriately.
“I have been unemployed for years and because of that, I was not able to pay for my sons’ education. My family and I thank CRS and UNHCR over and over again because they helped my children and opened the door to their education with the scholarship,” said one of the beneficiaries. The inclusion of refugee children in the education system can renew their lives and make Bosnian society more open to accepting diversity. Through this project, CRS strives to meet the expectations of citizens and, through the pooling of resources, achieve permanent cooperation with local communities.