Shkurte Gashi, 17 years old,
is well reintergrated in Kosovo.

Shkurte successfully reintegrates into Kosovo thanks to setting up a tailoring business.

Shkurte lives with her parents and siblings in the municipality of Mitrovica in Kosovo. Together with her family, she was expelled from Germany and France after spending fourteen years in both countries. On return, her family faced an acute lack of basic necessities and exclusion. Her encounter with Terre des hommes (Tdh) after expulsion back to her home country drastically changed her and her family’s life to the better.

 

Poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and unavailability of services in Kosovo are some of the major causes of emigration. Forced expulsions have  increased over the past years, since many disqualify for asylum in Western Europe. The returnees face major challenges reintegrating back into the existing education or social systems. The social and economic conditions are often harder than prior to their departure. For Shkurte, whose family had been living in France and Germany for fourteen years, this was particularly challenging.

Germany and France had become Shkurte’s home. Her early childhood memories were made here. In these countries, she went to school and acquired the German and French languages. Despite her long stay in these two countries, she had to return to Kosovo, a country she barely knew, without any prior preparation to her family’s return. They lacked housing, job and food. Besides, the adolescent suffered from loneliness, for she had left her friends behind and had not yet made new friends in her neighborhood.

Thanks to the close collaboration with local organisations, Shkurte was identified and the case was recommended to Tdh. Our staff visited Shkurte and her family. Tdh proposes mechanisms and solutions by giving vulnerable family members and youth access to employment or self-employment through professional training or by setting up a business. Shkurte benefited from this model of reintegration as she expressed a deep interest in tailoring amid discussions with our staff.

 

A tailoring course opens a business opportunity

Accordingly, Tdh registered her to Diakonia Vocational Training Center in Mitrovica for a five months tailoring course. The project staff regularly visited her. “I am very happy and thankful that Tdh gave me the opportunity to attend this course. Besides the gained skills in tailoring, I have also met new friends here,” Shkurte recounts.Throughout this period, her family was very supportive of her professional development.

After successfully completing the tailoring course and acquiring the relevant professional skills in communication and social interactions with the other participants, Tdh provided Shkurte with a sewing machine in view of starting an income generating activity. Her tailoring business has improved the socio-economic status of her family. The Tdh Micro-Finance experts continue to visit her, so as to offer her recommendations, guidance and support in the running of the business. For Tdh, reintegration is a continuous process that requires long term measures and guidance, with the aim of promoting social and financial autonomy of the reintegrated families.

 

Photo credit : ©Tdh