With funding from MCR, IDP families were assisted to organize a local fair in Štrpce/Shtërpcë to promote their businesses to the wider community.
As part of the EU-funded ‘Supporting durable solutions for collective center residents’ in Kosovo project, 33 internally displaced and vulnerable families who are currently living in collective centers in Štrpce/Shtërpcë, were supported with livelihood opportunities including a mix of income generation grants, vocational training and business trainings.
The local fair was held so that beneficiaries could promote their businesses to new clients and socialize with other inhabitants of the municipality. Full participation in local community life is not only essential to ensure a thriving business, but also vital for sustainable and successful integration.
The fair took place in front of the new indoor playground ‘Pinky’, that is run by Vesna who benefited from an income generating grant to start up this unique business in town. Children of both Serbian and Albanian schools in Štrpce/Shtërpcë ran off their energy in the playground while their parents met with other residents over food prepared by two beneficiaries who have their meat production business and donut and sweets shop a few meters away from the playground.
Maja is a single mother and runs ‘Sweetheart Maja’ at the corner of the street. For the event she prepared donuts, cakes and other sweets. She opened her sweets shop in November last year. “In the beginning it went super. Children from the nearby school came frequently but after a while they lost interest and I also got competition from other recently opened shops”, says Maja. This local fair gave her renewed courage and motivation and she is now thinking about adding new foods to her assortment.
Neda, who lives with her husband and two teenage children in one of the collective centers, used her beauty skills to entertain the kids with face painting. Judging by the number of painted faces, her makeup stand was very popular. Journalists from TV Herc, a local tv channel, took her aside and interviewed her about the beauty salon that she opened with EU funding through the project. Even though her beauty salon is running well, she was still eager to participate in the local fair since extra promotion can do no harm. The fair also inspired the participants to work together in the future. “Vesna, who is running the playground, wants to hire me in the future for children’s entertainment when she will organize birthday parties”, smiles Neda proudly.
During the fair other local businesses including brandy production, repair and maintenance works, filigree jewelry, decorations and a local taxi service were also presented.
The fair was organized with funding from the Ministry for Communities and Return.