Introduction to Kosovo
Up until 2011, Kosovo held the title of the youngest country in the world having gained independence from Serbia in 2008. Now the second youngest country and the smallest Balkan country has among the youngest populations in Europe with over 40% of the population under 25.
Prior to its independence, tension brewed over into conflict from 1996 to 1999. Hundreds were killed, hundreds of thousands displaced and almost a million fled, creating one of Europe’s worst refugee crises.
When families returned, they found their homes looted and burned to the ground, schools destroyed, and thousands of landmines planted. The war and its aftermath resulted in a vulnerable high widow and orphan population and left many psychologically traumatized.
Now almost two decades later, the economy is growing steadily. However, high poverty and unemployment rates – particularly amongst Kosovo’s youth and female unofficial labour force – continue to make life incredibly difficult for many families.
Why do the people of Kosovo need your support?
For people across Kosovo, life is incredibly challenging:
30% of the population or 550,000 people fall below the poverty line (Borgen Project, 2017)
25,679 families are on the social assistance scheme (Kosovo Agency of Statistics, 2020)
The unemployment rate in Kosovo is 25.7%, with youth unemployment at 60% (OECD)
Islamic Relief in Kosovo
Islamic Relief began post-war relief and reconstruction in Kosovo in 1999, aiming to help families become self-sufficient and establish a new normal. With a main office located in Pristina and operations running in Pristina, Mitrovica, Drenas, Prizren, Gijlan, and Vushtrri, Islamic Relief has rebuilt infrastructure, distributed essential items and provided seasonal food packages during Ramadan and Qurbani.
Through our developmental programs, we are able to provide families with sustainable livelihoods. We also work to provide rural communities with increased food security and income-generating activities to develop new skills and become self-sufficient.
In collaboration with The Municipality of Vushtrii, our ongoing Sustainable Livelihood project aims to provide vulnerable families with livestock, water wells, greenhouses, veterinary training and asset transfer training so they can generate their own sustainable income and become self-reliant.
Your donations in action
Habib Murtezi lives with his wife and 6 children in Vushtrii, surviving on social assistance of 105 Euros per month. For a big family like Habib’s, it is extremely difficult to survive the month with only social assistance.
Once Habib enrolled in our Sustainable Livelihood project, he received a cow and veterinary training. His training allows Habib to utilize his livestock for milk and cheese production so his family can enjoy these food items. These items can also be sold at local markets and generate income for the family.
This is a small step to greater opportunities of income generation in the future as Habib states,
“My children are so happy and interested in expanding our farm in the future. Thank you very much for your support in the livestock.”