Home to Stay
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Twenty years ago, at the end of a decade of turmoil and conflict in the Balkans, Vladan Vukadinović left his home in Kosovo* for the Serbian capital Belgrade, where he stayed until late last year.
Going home was not an easy choice for him, and he faced the dilemma of countless thousands of displaced people around the world. Would he be welcomed back in his home place? Would he be able to thrive there? Maybe he would be better off staying where he was?
Nevertheless, he took the plunge and is now a shining example of successful reintegration.
The IOM/EU-Return and Reintegration to Kosovo Programme (IOM EU-RRK V) has helped many people like Vladan, but his story is special because he now works directly on resettlement, with opportunity to assist the Municipal Office for Community and Returns (MOCR) in his home town of Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje.
“The purpose of the programme is to ensure that former displaced persons reintegrate into society after voluntary returning to their homes”, explains Tajma Kurt, Chief of Mission, IOM Kosovo. “The assistance the programme provides through Income Generation and Harmonized Assistance packages, is designed to empower beneficiaries and their families, so they are fully equipped with necessary tools to become self-sufficient and build a sustainable future for themselves and their families”.
Vladan agrees, saying that his job has given him a sense of productivity and strong work ethic, and has been truly integral to his reintegration into society: “The MOCR plays such a vital role in supporting the interests of returnees. I have managed to bridge the gap between displaced persons and local authorities. I am sharing my experience with recent returnees and people who are considering to return to their home, as they consider me to be an example of a former displaced person who has successfully reintegrated”.
This includes people like Isuf Zidi, a beneficiary resettled with his family in the municipality of Pejë/Peć. For him, life in displacement was defined by dire conditions, instability and extreme poverty. With the assistance of EU-RRK V Programme, Zidi and his family have been living in a house in Pejë/Peć, constructed under the auspices of the programme for a little over a year.
Previously displaced in Podgoricë/Podgorica, Montenegro and after voluntarily returning to Kosovo eight years ago, Zidi and his family depended on the generosity of others for shelter, until the IOM EU-RRK V Programme in cooperation with the representatives of the municipality of Pejë/Peć changed that.
While proudly giving us a tour of his house and garden, of which he has taken care so diligently, Zidi recalls a time where having a stable home for him and his family seemed impossible.
“Prior to IOM’s assistance, my family and I were living in extreme poverty and my youngest daughter was severely underweight. All that has changed and my children are now able to live healthy, happy lives.
“The work tools provided to me by the programme have helped enhance my productivity as they have become an vital part of my day-to-day life, they have helped me to develop my skills and eventually create a business to support my family”.
Financed by the EU office in Kosovo, co-financed by the Ministry of Communities and Returns (MCR) and implemented by IOM, the IOM EU-RRK V Programme is part of a longer-term partnership that will be implemented in 11 municipalities in Kosovo.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99.