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Challenges of reintegration for families in Kosovo

2013-12-10

November 14, 2013, Prishtina, Kosovo: A family of seven – two parents and their five children (ages 1.5 to 10 years old) returned to Kosovo from Switzerland in 2012. Like many other families, they left Kosovo due to economic reasons. However, after having lived in Switzerland for five years, the family agreed to voluntarily return back to their country of origin, according to the readmission agreement Kosovo signed.
In Switzerland, their 10-year-old daughter was attending school, where she was enrolled in the 2nd grade. She speaks Romani (as her native language) and German – the language she learnt while being in Switzerland. Therefore, back in Kosovo, she could not continue with her schooling because of the language barrier – she does not speak Albanian, and there are no schools in Romani language.
According to readmission agreements, Kosovo government promised to support the returned families. In the reintegration packages provided by the government returned families receive temporary accommodation, covered utility bills and food packages for 6 months. In addition they are supported in finding a job or attend vocational courses for re-qualification. However, not all promises are fulfilled.
Most of the returned families live in very poor conditions, they face huge obstacles to obtain civil registration, therefore, they cannot apply for social assistance, and in most cases, their basic human rights, e.g. access to education or healthcare are neglected.
Returned families also face institutional neglect – social workers do not visit returned families for evaluation of their situation and needs, which later leads to having difficulties applying for social assistance. As parents have great difficulties finding a stable job, most of them have to rely on daily jobs so they can support their families.
Through AIDAH project Terre des hommes Kosovo facilitates the process to obtain civil registration for all family members, provides direct support and covers expenses of medical treatment of the children. In addition returned children are offered language courses, vocational trainings, assistance with reintegration back to school process and other activities – sports, IT courses and peer-to-peer activities. (IK)
AIDAH project is implemented with the co-funding of the European Union’s RETURN Fund.