A UNV-supported initiative in 2015 empowered young men and women from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) community in Kosovo to start their own social entrepreneurship initiatives and advocate for community needs as “Changemakers”.
It’s a rare sunny day here in the Roma/Ashkali/Egyptian (RAE) quarter of Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje; a welcome respite from a long spell of chilly, overcast winter weather.
It’s also the perfect day to skip school. Or, if you’re not enrolled in school – as is the case for nearly 15 per cent of the school-aged children in this impoverished neighbourhood – it’s the perfect day to skip your two-hour literacy and numeracy class at the local The Ideas Partnership (TIP) centre.
With a quiet focus, Hateme Krasniqi, an Ashkali woman in her mid-30s, keeps her eyes trained on the tip of her pencil as she carefully draws one letter after another to spell out her first name: HATEME. Today, bundled up in her winter coat while a chilly drizzle rains down outside. Hatemes hands are cold and red but increasingly well-practiced in writing her name. But this is something very new and very exciting for this mother of six from the marginalized Ashkali quarter of Fushe Kosove, Kosovo.
Fushë Kosovë, Kosovo: When I went to the district of Fushë Kosovë for the first time, I thought I was prepared enough not to be shocked. Driving in a warm and comfortable jeep, I didnt have to walk on a muddy and uneven road to reach the school, where I was asked to go for an assessment visit.
Pristina, Kosovo: UNV supported The Ideas Partnership (TIP), a local NGO, with text books and stationery for their catch-up classes to Roma children who are preparing for a test to register into formal schooling.