During the last month, the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo and the municipality of Prishtina organized an inauguration ceremony of an obelisk in honour of the international organizations and personalities who support Kosovo’s population. This obelisk is standing in one of the squares of Prishtina, named the Square of Appreciation.
Among the names of the international organizations and personalities that have helped the people of Kosovo, the name of World Vision is included with the text: “Expressing our appreciation and gratitude for your human act by protecting and supporting the people of Kosovo, and the universal values of civilization and humanity in the years 1990 – 2012”.
A decade later, the northern part of Kosovo continues to be a hot spot in the country and all the Ballkans. In some cities of Kosovo, like Mitrovica and Rahovec, there continues to be a dividing wall and a very fragile peace between Serbians and Albanians.
Kids for Peace clubs (a World Vision peace initiative, founded in 2002) from both ethnic groups are a great example of unity and friendship. In these cities only children from these clubs can cross the divide between these neighbourhoods, by taking part in different activities and playing together with their peers from other ethnic groups.
Kids for Peace membership numbersaround 400 children from 16 clubs who join in the regular activities, promoting peace and living together. “We share messages of peace and harmony among all of us. We are doing these things together with youth of different ethnicities in Kosovo, including Roma, Ashkali, Serbian and Croatian,” says Artina Ahmetaj, 13 years old from Rahovec.
World Vision started its operations in Kosovo in 1998 by responding to the needs of Internally Displaced Persons in areas devastated by armed conflict, following the breakup of Yugoslavia. Several significant emergency interventions took place in the municipalities of Podujeve/Podujevo, Mitrovice/Mitrovica, Lipjan/Lipljan, Suhareke/SuvaReka, etc. More than 1,700 families were assisted through the housing reconstruction programme. Interventions also involved construction, community development and revival of the agricultural sector. World Vision also rehabilitated and constructed new schools, hospitals and homes for people with special needs.
“This appreciation is very important for us because this shows that the government recognize the work of World Vision in the past and also it sees it as crucial for the future,” says Driton Krasniqi, World Vision Kosovo Zonal Manager.
“This country and the people here need World Vision support to build a peaceful future and make sure that all children of Kosovo will enjoy their rights. For this reason we will need to build a sustainable program in the region of Kosovo’s most needy and vulnerable people,” added Mr. Krasniqi.
“My dream is that Kids for Peace will continue for a long time and in all areas of Kosovo, until peace and harmony flows everywhere for all people,” says Mentore Shala , 16 years old, a Kids for Peace club member.