Kosovo: green hope

Kosovo: the only thing that will save us is love

Jump in the car and drive. Finding yourself passing in front of an abandoned petrol station, and noticing a flock of goats resting serenely in the shade; what strikes you is how these animals have succeeded in creating their own habitat in such a hostile environment: this is a metaphor through which one can talk about Kosovo.

Like the goats, one is surprised by the way in which families have succeeded in living and giving you a smile, even in their extreme poverty.

Among the hills of Klina, a city in the North-East of Kosovo about 1 hour away from the capital Pristina, is the house of Umbrian Caritas. This building is the result of a 16 year old dream finally realized through the tenacity of 4 friends.

They lived in a country at its worst moment, the Kosovo conflict of 1996, a devastating war which saw direct conflict often between members of the same family and where the results are still visible today.

With the armed intervention of NATO in 1999, they joined others in voluntary missions which became a mission for life.

During the months spent among the refugee camps they saw the desperation and needs of many families. The shock of seeing a baby forced to sleep in a dog-kennel led them to undertake a new path.

Despite the great difficulty, they built a first house to serve as a refuge for all those who lives were impacted. Between turns in housework and coking there is a parallel support to families which Caritas provides in the area, through the provision of necessities for living and in the provision of medical assistance.

There are many families, often the result of mixed marriages, which have experienced conflicts among their members, which have led to the abuse of women and caused the children to pay the highest price. I have seen the extreme poverty with my own eyes. It is inconceivable that, even until today, people here struggle to survive and to have the basic dignity of shelter and food.

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