When Hard Work Pays Off: Fitim's story

Fitim at work in the Social Business Incubator 

Fitim Krasniqi was born in 1992 in Mitrovicë/a, one of the most critical periods in former Yugoslavia. He has a big family, 11 siblings and all of them live together in Shipol/Sipole. The 90’s were difficult years that affected everyone in this region including Fitim’s family. Faced with difficult economic conditions, many members of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian minority communities dropped out of school. But not Fitim. He continued with his education even though he was the only one in his family working.

As a young child, Fitim set himself a goal. He would attend school and would find a good job to support his family. His efforts of securing a better future for himself and his family began in high school when he started taking English and IT classes and also got involved in different volunteer activities at a local youth center called "House of Hope”. After finishing high school he got accepted at the Traffic and Transport Engineering Faculty, at University of Prishtina and today he has one more year to finish his studies. Following Fitim’s example, his younger siblings are also attending school.

In April 2016 Fitim started working as a Community Worker within the “Support to Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian communities in Mitrovica” project that is funded by Sida and implemented by the Danish Refugee Council. Fitim supports the DRC team in implementing economic development activities, and actively helps with further developing the Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla, which DRC is championing in partnership with the communities in order to ensure their integration in Kosovo society. Recently, the incubator was registered as the ‘Social Business Incubator Mitrovica’ Foundation with Fitim as one of the co-founders.

He is also in charge of developing and maintaining productive working relationships with implementing and operational partners, local authorities and other stakeholders involved in the minority return stabilization and community development process.

Fitim is very happy with this job and continues to further educate himself. He is taking English language classes offered by the International Business College Mitrovicë/a with DRC support and DRC is also helping him to hone his fundraising skills. He is very motivated to continue his work with the Social Business Incubator and the social enterprise concept in general. Fitim is a very committed and dedicated young person and will continue to work hard to gain more knowledge and experience in order to serve communities in need.

Mid-term evaluation tracks progress of Sida-funded project “Support to Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a”

During October 2015 DRC organized an internal mid-term project evaluation of the Sida funded “Support to Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a” Project.

In order to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the project components: education and economic development, and the handover process itself, DRC Kosovo has welcomed Mr. Mikkel Nedergaard - M&E expert from DRC HQ in Copenhagen.

From 19-22 October 2015, Mr. Nedergaard conducted intensive consultations with all relevant project stakeholders, by facilitating focus group discussions on education and economic development components and individual interviews with relevant parties, such as the Deputy Mayor of Mitrovicë/a municipality, NGO “RADC” Director and the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian leader.  

At the end of field activities Mr. Nedergaard facilitated a brainstorming session with DRC program staff and Country Director, where the status of the Action Plan for handover process and its benchmarks have been reviewed in detail while reflecting on progress, identified gaps, obstacles and concerns of the stakeholders.  

Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla offers certified preparatory vocational trainings

 

Newly constructed Social Business Incubator annex to host vocational trainings

Following an MoU signed with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Danish Refugee Council's Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla is now offering a pre-preparatory vocational training programme to youth from Roma Mahalla and the Mitrovicë/a region. In close cooperation with the Regional Employment Centre (REC) Mitrovicë/a, DRC identified teachers and mentors to train participants in:

  • High/low construction
  • Metal processing
  • Carpentry
  • TV/Radio service

 

Starting on 3 October 2013, 21 trainees registered through the Regional Employment Centre Mitrovicë/a will attend trainings and get the opportunity to gain basic skills that will facilitate their further vocational education. Trainings with qualified mentors will take place three times a week and last for the duration of three months. Graduates of the programme will receive certificates issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, which will enable them to pursue more advanced vocational trainings in the future.

With this programme, DRC's Social Business Incubator contributes not only to the existing employment and vocational training infrastructure  in the Mitrovicë/a region, but also establishes closer links between members of the RAE and majority community.

 

 

High Construction training

Carpentry workshop

Trainees sign up for High Construction training

The Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla is part of the economic development component of the Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/a funded by Sida.

Roma Mahalla Women's Group presents their work at Green Drinks Prishtina

 
Selvete Gashi-Director of NGO “Lulebora” making a brief presentation about the project

Selvete Gashi-Director of NGO “Lulebora” making a brief presentation about the project

On Thursday, 15/08/2013, NGO “Lulebora” and three women from the “Vullneti I Grave” group, have participated as the main guests of the Green Drinks event organized by The Ideas Partnership, at Shuala Bar, Pristina. Selvete Gashi-Director of NGO “Lulebora” made a brief presentation about the project. Beside project presentation, the Green Drinks event was a good opportunity for “Vullneti I Grave” to present and to sell their products. 

“Vullneti I Grave” is a group of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian women, skilled in handicrafts. “Vullneti I Grave” are part of the  Social Business Incubator established by the  Danish Refugee Council Kosovo under the ‘Stabilization of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla, Mitrovicë/a’. The project integrates  economic development  and  community development  activities and is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and implemented by the Danish Refugee Council and NGO Lulebora.

“The Ideas Partnership” is a Kosovan NGO working on educational, cultural and environmental projects. “The Ideas Partnership” is working with partner organizations and local institutions, supporting the people of Kosovo to protect a unique cultural heritage, nurture the environment, and educate a new generation of citizens.

The “Green Drinks” event is an international concept, which takes place in hundred cities around the world. The idea of Green Drinks, is to bring people together once per month. People with professional involvement in the environment, people with personal interest, and people who are fancy of a drink of two (locally produced), are invited, for having good company and stimulating conversation. Lately, Pristina is one of those world cities. For each event, one or two guests are invited, to present their projects, and their products.

 

IBCM / DRC cooperation kicks off with a student visit to Roma Mahalla

 

On 11 June, DRC welcomed 20 students from the International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM) to Roma Mahalla. DRC Project Manager Jasmina greeted them with a presentation on the community development and economic development initiatives that DRC is currently implementing in Roma Mahalla.

Together with DRC staff, the students went on to have a closer look at the businesses hosted at the DRC Business Incubator, and the various projects led by Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community (RAE) LNGOs and supported by DRC. The students had a chance to see the Roma Mahalla Learning Center for children run by RAE LNGO RADC and the opportunity to chat with members of the women's handicrafts group, who put their latest creations on display.

The field visit ended on a high note with a performance by Shukarno Talenti, Roma Mahalla's very own folklore dance troupe, which was initiated by youths from the RAE community and is now in the process of registering as an NGO. As many of the students visited Roma Mahalla for the first time, they were keen to learn more about the community and DRC's work.

This field visit marks the first step in a closer collaboration between DRC Mitrovica and IBCM. In the coming months, two IBCM students will start an internship with DRC in Roma Mahalla. DRC's activities within community and economic development will provide the students with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge gained in IBCM's Marketing and Management and Public Administration programmes and to gain practical experience.

Sonja Novak, Head of the Public Administration Department at IBCM notes: "We are very happy to work more closely with DRC and the community in Roma Mahalla. The internships offered by DRC are a unique opportunity for our students to apply in practice what they learn about social inclusion for instance. At IBCM, we not only promote quality education, but also strive to give students from all communities in Mitrovica the opportunity to learn."

More information on the students chosen for the internships and DRC's cooperation with IBCM will follow. 

Read more about IBCM here 

The DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian (RAE) Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica combines economic development with activities geared towards community development.  The project is funded by SIDA.