Zara*, a 31-year-old mother of five, used to be shy around new people but that has changed. For the past year, Zara has been part of GCERF-funded activities in Kosovo** organized by the Community Development Fund (CDF) Consortium in coordination with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The activities focus on community-based rehabilitation, reintegration, and resocialization of returnees from conflicts abroad and their families.
Together with 18 other women, Zara participated in sewing classes in Pristina. “I have grown professionally and my communication has improved,” she says.
Zara and her five children returned to Kosovo in April 2019, alongside 105 other Kosovars returning from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. After her first husband was killed in the conflict, she remarried and gave birth to her youngest son. Nonetheless, her first husband’s father took Zara and her five children in upon their return to Kosovo.
Her three youngest children have arrived in Kosovo at an early age. Two are part of the regular Kosovo school system, which facilitated their resocialisation. Her youngest will likely follow the same path. The two eldest, on the other hand, must strengthen their knowledge of the Albanian language and make up for lost schooling.
"Children play happily with other children and the neighbours seem to be extra caring with them," Zara says. Zara is hopeful about the future. She also has a newfound interest in traveling around Kosovo, the small country that welcomed her back.
Read more GCERF Snap Shots here.
GCERF is a GCTF Inspired Institution. The Inspired Institutions are independent organizations that complement the Forum’s mission and reinforce the practical use of GCTF resources across the globe.
*Not her real name.
**This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
Photo Credit: provided by GCERF