Irena Kalezić got an aprtment in social housing unit in Spuž where construction has been provided by Help in cooperation with municipality of Danilovgrad and financial support from Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare. Previously she had lived for five years in rented house nearby, with her three children. Mrs. Kalezić with her daughter, who is assistant in school for children with special needs, has moved in new apartment in Spuž, while her sons continued to live in rented house.
Since Kalezić family takes care about rented house whose owner is abroad „like it is they own“, Irena says that landlord stopped taking rent after some time. Same goes for her sons today, and she continues to help them to take care about garden and house.
Irena Kalezić has never had a permanent job but has worked on different jobs for wage since before the divorce – as she still does: from vendors on market to house maid. She didn’t expect to get social flat, but others urged her to apply because she fulfilled all conditions: she is without income, she doesn’t have permanent job, she just turned 41 years of checking in to bureau, she doesn’t have any property on her name, she was a tenant in rented house with three children.
Mrs. Kalezić has finished DIF college (State institute for sport back then), but she was married early and, as she said “to poverty”, so she has dedicated herself to raising children and she had a part time job selling different things as well.
„When I renovated house that I shared with my husband, we got divorced. I went out with kids, and he was left with the house“,she says.
First look on this nicely decorated flat which she shares with her daughter already confirmed that Mrs. Kalezić is a very hardworking person who never gives up.
“I’m used to fighting, and when I didn’t want it to be noticed, I would go somewhere to clean the house or sell something. I never surrendered, I was always ready to make a wage. Today I have a constant arrangement for maintaining one house and a yard, and I am working every other day. It is not difficult for me, and in the meantime I stopped doing extra jobs because I no longer have the strength since I have serious health problems. I had a kidney surgery, recently had thrombosis, was in the hospital for quite a while. The family I work with tolerates me when I can’t get something done because of health reasons, though it rarely happens. ”
She says that she had the help of relatives in furnishing the apartment, which she is grateful for, but also that when a person tries, anything can be done with a little money.
“For example, I paid only 30 euros for this chest of drawers (pointing to a great big flawless white dresser), can you believe it? It was a bit damaged, but I bought a 3 euro paint and a few new 60 cents handles, and sorted everything out myself. And here’s the new one completely. ”
Mrs. Kalezić points out that her daughter, who finished High school for design, also gladly helps her from her salary in buying small decorations, which made home more comfortable and a pleasant place to live. Daughter Kaja has also purchased TV.
She says that getting this social housing flat-home really represents a „light on the end of tunnel“.
“They had always told me one day everything will come back to me, that I have to succeed because I work so much. However, if someone had told me earlier that I would get an apartment, I would not have believed him. I thought there was no theoretical chance. But there was a ray of hope when they forced me to apply, because I met all the conditions: no pay, no pensions, or it seems I would ever get them, at the jobless office for decades, without a home or property in my name. I didn’t need anything else. So I applied. I couldn’t believe I got an apartment, I cried for days, for days.”
Mrs Kalezić says she is not sure when she is 62 if she will be able to get some social assistance – and 100 euros would be significant to her, although the children will “jump in”. She is sure that, as she says, she will not “let go” when she can no longer work, but she would be happy to have at least something for herself.
At the same time as having a social status, her daughter Kaja got a job as a teaching assistant in school. And that was thanks to her initiative. After Kaja graduated from high school for interior design, she did not continue her studies, but started working in Podgorica – jobs were in boutiques and the income went for transport and food. As Mrs. Kalezić was the president of the Parents’ Association at the school for nine years, she knew about the training programs for teaching assistant-ships for children with special needs.
“It was Friday when I applied for a social apartment, and on Monday Kaja was called from the labor bureau to come to work because she is the only assistant in Danilovgrad. She started working there and is very happy. Assistants in Montenegro do not have a permanent job, but they do have a fixed-term job, but we hope this changes in the future. Kaja is now very busy with work and has a nice place to live where she sometimes invites other people to visit. ”
Warm and nicely decorated apartment on the last floor of the building in Spuž has a balcony that is just about to be decorated with pots and flowers, Irena Kalezić told us.
Spring is coming, just in time for this job.