Kosovo is a developing country located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, with a population of 1,859,203 and declared its independence on February 2008. Its actual economic state is still unstable and it is a great factor that influenced the migration of 150,000 Kosovars towards the Western States. Yet, not all of them were accepted by other states or were able to find a better life, which was for what they were looking for. However, around 12,000 had to make the road back to their homeland. Left with no hope and no money, as they sold everything to make that dangerous trip, now these returnees are facing different issues.
In generally, Kosovars are known as generous and warm-heart people, and now we are all trying to take different initiatives with regard to their reintegration since we understand this difficult situation and most of its consequences.
The Seeds4Integration Camp idea came after we realized that a lot of young people are affected by this situation. Some of them had difficulties accessing school, town or even society, which directly links to lower school performance and lower self-esteem. The Camp was held on 26-28 May in a school camp in Jezerc, Ferizaj a small village in Kosovo. In this camp, we had 32 participants, where a part of them were school representatives and the others were returnees. Our aim was to see the difficulties they are facing and what we as a youth organization and student council can do to reintegrate them. Firstly, we had activities related to the terms of migration and refugees, even though most of them were very familiar with. Then we passed to the consequences of irregular migration and challenges students face when they return back home. As people are always on the move they come across different feelings and this might affect their steps in the future. Hence, we altogether realized how much we can do to make it easier for everyone to take these steps in life carefully and feel part of something bigger, part of a good society.
We did an overview of the actual situation of migration and refugees in global terms, and specifically Kosovo emigration. During the activities, we identified the problems and came up with solutions/ recommendations. The fact that in this camp we had returnees, made it much easier for everyone to understand the situation from their perspective as they shared their own stories and experiences. Also, from the student council, we got to see the other side, what we have been doing till now and what are the next steps we should take to make the reintegration process much easier. So, we have been talking from two different points of view and saw where comprehensive solutions are lacking and came up with great results.
Additionally, we considered as an important part of this project to promote the activities and the results of this camp to the other schools of all municipalities that did not have the chance to be part of. Hence, altogether with 50 volunteer promoters, we visited all high schools during their last Student Council meetings. In there, we did a presentation about Kosovar Youth Council, our membership in OBESSU, the Seeds4Integration results and some necessary tools for youth activities.
As these participants understood and admitted to themselves that from now on they will try to be more focused on social inclusion and even try to share all of this experience with other students, this seems to be a great step forward to solve the issue. We all believe that this camp helped participants to be equipped with necessary information regarding the consequences of irregular migration, and make them feel ready to take action whenever they face a similar situations.
Written by Qendresa Ibrahmi from KYC.
For more information about Seeds for Integration project visit the website: www.seedsforintegration.org