Helping people survive and recover from forced displacement

Our Mission

IAFR Sarajevo leads a partnership of two evangelical churches and five Christian mission organizations through the Bosnian non-profit Hands of Hope. Collaboratively, we lean into the privilege of demonstrating God’s unconditional love for forcibly displaced people in Bosnia and Herzegovina by meeting needs and developing relationships which lead to restored hope.

Hands of Hope plans to establish a new refugee outreach center just outside Sarajevo in 2023 where we can serve the populations of two IOM-operated temporary reception facilities – one for families, women, and unaccompanied minors and a second for single men. Our new refugee outreach center will provide unique opportunities to cultivate a hope which transforms the person and their journey.

Ministry Context

A reception center for asylum seekers in Bosnia

A reception center for asylum seekers in Bosnia

Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has long been a common waypoint on the refugee highway leading to Europe.

Bosnia is still recovering from the ethnic war of the 1990’s, which created more than one million Bosnian refugees. Because of its ability to personally identify with refugee experiences, Bosnia remains one of the few countries that welcome forcibly displaced people traveling this stretch of the refugee highway.

Since 2015, more than 30,000 displaced people have traveled through Bosnia every year. While their origins vary widely from many crisis areas around the world, most intend to linger just long enough in Bosnia to prepare for their further trip into Europe. In actuality, a plan of spending 30 days in Bosnia is often replaced by a reality of spending more than a year in country.

Despite its affinity with the plight of the forcibly displaced, Bosnia struggles with unemployment and lack of resources. As a result, a majority of short- and long-term needs of refugees and asylum seekers are provided through humanitarian aid organizations.

IAFR is a member of the ICVA Network.

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