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Widows Fund Fushe Kosova

by The Ideas Partnership
Widows Fund Fushe Kosova
Elmije
Elmije's house

 In the community of Fushe Kosove, there is a distinct difference between this place and the city of Prishtina just twenty minutes away. Riding further into the community, an overwhelming sense of poverty surrounds you. Trash and abandoned furniture lay by the side of the roads. The tires of passing cars sweep up dirt and dust which fill the streets. With the beginning of Summer break, young children have no other activities than to play in the street. Many people here lack the basic daily necessities of food and hygiene products. It is clear this is a community whose people need support.

 Elmije, a widower of 13 years, is one of these people. When her oldest son was just eight years old, her husband passed away. This left her tasked with raising five young children on her own. Elijme has done her best but still struggles even today. In the struggling economy of Fushe Kosove, it has been difficult for she and her children to find work.

 Elmije is next in line to receive proceeds from the Global Giving Widows Fund and desperately needs it to pay for medical expenses. She has been diagnosed with cancer of the stomach. She must have an operation to remove some of the cancer but does not have the money to do so. In a private hospital, the operation costs 2,000 euro, but because she can not afford this, she must go to a public hospital and be placed on a two-year wait list. Since her diagnosis, the cancer has spread moving into the upper left side of her torso. Everyday she experiences pain all throughout her body causing her to lose sleep.

 In the past, Elmije has benefited from The Ideas Partnership through gardening which allowed her to learn how to grow her own food. Currently, however, with her worsening medical condition, she is unemployed. With your generous donations, Elmije hopes she can save up enough money for her operation. She says she is very appreciative of any help she receives and hopes she is able to have her operation soon.

The garden of Elmije
The garden of Elmije
Grandmother Drita in front of her house
Grandmother Drita in front of her house

   Fidan would have turned 38 in May. His mother, Drita, clearly recalls the day she saw him for the last time. At that time, she was happily looking after Fidan’s son, Bekir, who was only 1 year old, while Fidan’s daughter, Rrezarta, 6, was in school.

The news of the accidental death of Fidan shocked the whole family. He was a respected community member, with a very important job position in the municipality, from where he contributed to the improvement of the well-being of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, the most marginalized communities in Kosovo. He was the only member of the family who had a job. He left behind his wife and two children, Rrezarta and Bekir. A year after his death, the children's mother abandoned her children and started a new life somewhere else.

Grandmother Drita was left with the burden of raising her nephew and niece alone. However, she didn’t consider this as a burden. Her eyes are full of happiness when talking about them and their achievements. She doesn’t want to mention all the difficulties and challenges endured during this period of raising her grandchildren when she remembers that Rrezarta has already finished school, and Bekir who is now 13 years old is doing very well in his lessons. She is proud of her grandchildren, for the people they have become.

 “When I heard that my son had died, I couldn’t help but wish to be dead myself too. I couldn’t believe that he was gone. But I moved forward because my grandchildren needed me. Their mother left, as well, and they had no one else. I started taking care of them, and they kept me alive. I am so thankful for having them in my life.”

During these years, we have helped Drita and the children with food, clothes and academic material so they could go to school. All this support was made possible thanks to your generosity from far away. She is very thankful for your help appreciating every penny sent to help her raise her grandchildren.

Her name, Drita, means light.
And she is the brightest light in the lives of her grandchildren.

The other nephew of Drita
The other nephew of Drita
Volunteers Jack and Mabel with Nurije
Volunteers Jack and Mabel with Nurije

   It was a bitter winter’s day. Although the thick snow and -8 degree temperatures, there were still many children around playing football and pulling each other along on toboggans made from scraps. We battled through the snow storm occurring throughout Kosovo to visit Nurije. The 38-year-old mother of 7 children, aged from 19 years old to just 5 years old. Many of who greeted us at the door.

Nurije is sadly recently widowed with her husband dying of lung cancer only three months ago. Not only does she have to battle with the grief of losing an integral part of her family, she now has to cope with caring for her entire family through this long, unbearable winter.

We discussed her life here in Fushe Kosove as she expressed the lack of job opportunities and poor living conditions. She is given just 130 euros per month from the state to fund her whole 8 member family. Particularly in the winter, this is worsened given the need for fire wood, costing 80 euros per month. Mathematically, this clearly doesn’t add up leaving just €6.25 for each family member for necessary food each month. Showing the desperate need for support from The Ideas Partnership.

However, due to your kind donations, The Ideas Partnership is able to help the family through this devastating time with food, clothing supplies and school equipment aiding the children’s access to education.

We spoke to 16-year-old twins Ernesa and Qendresa, who are very grateful to the Girls Club at TIP every Saturday afternoon. They are taught about important issues surrounding education, sexual health, and relationships. All significant issues within the community. Both confident girls, they aspire to have meaningful professions mentioning becoming bakers.

The widow fund supports Nurije directly with financial aid for essentials such as food and clothing to help her large family survive the winter. But there are so many additional benefits from support at TIP. Her daughters benefit weekly from attending the Girls Club. Also, her younger children are consistent with English and maths classes at the TIP centre. Yes, these donations help directly to fund essentials, but it subsequently funds positive and hopeful energy throughout this poor community. Firstly, education from such a young age results in kindergarten students gaining confidence in reading and writing. Secondly, the rise in ambitions throughout school for a better life and the drive to improve their livelihood. And finally, better working opportunities for more educated young adults. The Widows Fund has so many indirect benefits that is helping mould this community and your donations are to thank for that.

The road that leads to Nurije
The road that leads to Nurije's house
Mother Sadije with her two children
Mother Sadije with her two children

   Sadije lives in a rented house in Fushe Kosove with her two children: Besmir, 12, and Izmire, 9 years old. For nine years now, she has been the head of the family, having the responsibility of supporting the family, providing food and clothes, school materials for the children, and a safe shelter for them.
Right after the birth of their daughter, Bekim, Sadije’s husband, had gone away from home and never returned. Sadije tells us that they’ve failed to find him even after many attempts throughout the years. She still hopes that her husband will come home. But having no information as to what happened to him, she found the will to continue her life and take care of the two children that were very little at the time.

 Since then, to raise her children, she sought help from her relatives, as the social support from the municipality is terminated when children age five. Because of the high level of unemployment in the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Fushe Kosove, and especially among the women, she has not managed to find a job even though she has been searching for a long time.

Sadije has found support at The Ideas Partnership, which has provided her family with food and household supplies, clothes, and school materials for her children who attend the primary school nearby. Besmir attends 5th grade, while Izmire is attending the 2nd. They also attend extracurricular activities at the center of The Ideas Partnership in Fushe Kosove, having the opportunity to socialize with other children and learn new things.

All the help we have given to Sadije and her two children so far has been thanks to your extraordinary support of our Widows Fund project.

Help us help them! Sadije, Besmir, and Izmire need you!

Selime with her 10-year-old granddaughter
Selime with her 10-year-old granddaughter

   Walking through Fushe Kosove in early June you would expect a cooler weather; not a 30-degree heat wave that was occurring. We took refuge in the shade to talk with Selime who agreed this heat in early June will make the long, scorching summer even more unbearable to cope with this year. On a hot day like this, it’s easy to imagine the hardships that the often-unsanitary water can have in Fushe Kosove which results in more health issues throughout the community.

 Selime is a 53-year-old mother to 3 daughters and 6 sons ranging from 35-19 years old. Living in Fushe Kosove for over 40 years, Selime describes the difficulties of living in such a poor community, specifically stating the prolonged poor state of the economy has made it extremely difficult to raise a family. Selime has a 10-year-old granddaughter also named Selime (a tradition that still dominates the community) who she solely cares for due to her mother leaving when she was a young child. Even though Selime has raised her family with her husband for 3 decades, unfortunately, last year he lost his battle to lung cancer. Fighting through the grief of losing her life partner, Selime now also must cope with the fact she is raising the family in this poor community all alone and has lost her main source of income, being her late husband.

  Even though many of her children are considered adults, due to the poor economy, work opportunities are so little that they still rely heavily upon her. One of the children works as a rubbish-picker earning only 4 euros per day- just 120 euros per month to support a whole family. Furthermore, this is the case for over 400 families living in Fushe Kosove who are working as hard as possible but still living in poverty. These hardships are also made even more difficult because one of Selime’s older children is disabled, meaning he needs constant care. Without the help of The Ideas Partnership, Selime would struggle terribly to cater to his needs, with TIP providing the family with necessary medical treatment etc. and helping to provide hospital visits for any families in the community who require them. Even though Selime talks of the difficulties of living in Fushe Kosove, she expresses that The Ideas Partnership have helped her continue to raise her family. TIP have provided continual food, school equipment and even prescription glasses for young Selime. Young Selime also loves the Saturday activities TIP has to offer, aiding her education. She takes part in activities such as Maths, Albanian language, and English. This is extremely important for Selime’s academic and social development. With the skills she learns through TIP activities it enables Selime to start mainstream school, increasing the opportunities available to her in the future.

  Your generous and continued support to the Widow Fund is helping so majorly to the lives of these families in Fushe Kosove. Selime’s family are so appreciative of every aspect of assistance they are given through The Ideas Partnership charity and with your kind donations we are really helping benefit the lives of over 400 families that are living in the poor community of Fushe Kosove.

 

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Organization Information

The Ideas Partnership

Location: Prishtina - Kosovo
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @kosovarngo
Project Leader:
elizabeth gowing
Prishtina, Kosovo

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