DRC provides work experience for IBCM students

DRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM) to enable students to gain practical experience while working on DRC projects in Mitrovicë/a. In March, DRC was happy to welcome two new interns, who will work with the community and economic development teams for 6 months.

Liridona Elezi will spend the next six months supporting community development activities as part of the Sida-funded Support to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a Project. Liridona studies Public Administration at IBCM and wishes to gain practical experience working with local civil society organizations and project development and monitoring.  Supported by DRC staff, Liridona assists DRC’s local partners to draft projects and reviews project proposals. With her excellent English skills, she also contributes to documenting project activities and drafting stories that highlight the experiences of beneficiaries in DRC projects.

Our second intern is a 4th semester student of Environment and Agriculture at IBCM. With her experience working with local companies and educational background, Blerina Ombashi is well suited to support the Economic development team at the Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla. During her internship, Blerina can put her academic learning into practice. She will support minority business Manager Teuta with drafting a new business plan for her laundry business and participate in the Social Business Incubator Community Board which provides a platform for coordination and exchange between community and stakeholders in Roma Mahalla. She will also be able to contribute to activities related to environmental protection and health which are integral parts of the Support to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a Project.

Thanks to its cooperation with IBCM, DRC is happy to contribute to local students’ professional development. With DRC interns gain hands-on experience working with local government representatives and communities and get the opportunity to clarify career goals and build a professional network in their respective fields of interest.

For more information on IBCM courses, please visit their website: http://ibcmitrovica.eu/

Business Centre Zvecan and DRC organize Crafts Fair in Mitrovica


The 'HOLIDAY SEASON CRAFT FAIR' promotes traditional and innovative handicrafts produced by 15 NGOs and women's initiatives, among them Vullneti i Grave, and provides income generating opportunities to women in society.

However, the Fair will not only provide a sales opportunity for the participating women, but also enable the participants to network with similar initiatives in the North and to explore possibilities for further collaboration with the Business Centre Zvecan.

To this end the fair will be used as a platform to inform relevant stakeholders about women’s economic initiatives in the area, to present the work of the respective NGOs and women's initiatives and to engage in discussion with the Business Centre Zvecan and private sector representatives about ways to effectively promote traditional Kosovo crafts.

Read more about Vullneti i Grave on their website: www.vullnetiigrave.com or find them on facebook

Download the list of Fair participants


Bridging the learning gap - The Learning Centre, Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/a Booklet 2013

For the past three years, the Learning Centre has provided kindergarten, pre-school and homework support classes to the growing number of children and youth in Roma Mahalla.

Read more about the Centre's work or download the Booklet in English, Albanian or Serbian below:


Since 2009, Danish Refugee Council has supported its former implementing partner Caritas and current partner Roma and Ashkalia Documentation Center (RADC) to run the Learning Centre located in Roma Mahalla, Mitrovicë/a. The Centre is currently funded solely by Sida as part of the Community Development component of the DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/a.


Click the caption to download the Booklet:

Buy your gifts at the 'Holiday Season Crafts Fair', 23 December 2013

Poster eng.jpg

Danish Refugee Council and Business Center Zvecan are organizing a 'HOLIDAYS FAIR CRAFT WORK' to promote, develop and nurture traditional and innovative handicrafts, and provide income generating opportunities to women in society.

Place: Above CRYM CENTER - Mitrovica (ex VIVA)

Date: 23 December 2013

Time: 11:00 - 16:00

Primary school children from Mitrovicë/a celebrate Universal Children's Day together


'I have rights!'

Under this motto, children from the Learning Center in Roma Mahalla, invited children from primary schools Andon Zako Cajup, Bedri Gjina and Eqrem Qabej to celebrate Universal Children's Day in the cultural hall in Mitrovicë/a. This event celebrated around the world marks the day on which the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child  were adopted.

At the Learning Center, the children learned about their rights, made drawings and decorations and worked hard to perfect their performances.  On the  day, they recited poems, performed songs and dances and moderated the event themselves. 

In line with the ideals set down in the Charter which not only promote children's rights but also the understanding between children of different backgrounds and cultures, folklore dance groups from Roma Mahalla, and the Bosniak and Turkish community performed their traditional dances and gave the audience an insight into their culture and traditions.

The event was supported by the Municipal Department for Culture, Sport and Youth in Mitrovica, the Danish Refugee Council and Mercy Corps.

The Learning Center in Roma Mahalla is run by the RADC and funded by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) under the DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica which is  funded by Sida.


Learning Center brings parents and children together


On 23 October the Learning Center in Roma Mahalla invited parents and children to a day of games and competitions at the sports hall in Mitrovicë/a. Roughly 60 parents and 100 children came and participated actively in the various activities devised by teachers and teacher assistants. Learning Center staff were pleased to welcome such a large number of parents, including both mothers and fathers.

 With the help of their parents, the children made cabbage heads from different vegetables, drawings and paper sculptures. Prizes for the best examples in the different categories were handed out by members of the judging panel consisting of Learning Center staff and representatives from OSCE.

For the past 3 years, the Learning Center has supported children between the ages of 3 to 15, providing pre-school classes and homework support for children enrolled in primary school in order to increase RAE children's chances to successfully participate in the mainstream school system in Mitrovicë/a.

The Learning Center is part of the DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica and is currently funded solely by Sida and run by DRC through its local implementing partner RAD Center.


Seeing so many parents accompany their children, drawing and playing with them, is a sign that parents in Roma Mahalla are getting more and more involved in activities related to their children’s education. Besides making sure that children’s performance at school improves, engaging parents in Learning Center activities and encouraging them to take an active role in their child’s education is another priority for us
— says a member of staff at the Learning Center.

DRC welcomes interns from the International Business College Mitrovicë/a

Manuela Petrovic, Community Development Intern

Manuela Petrovic, Community Development Intern

Arben Isufi, Economic Development Intern

Arben Isufi, Economic Development Intern

As part of an MoU signed with the International Business College Mitrovicë/a, Danish Refugee Council offers IBCM students the opportunity to participate in an internship programme with DRC's field office in Mitrovicë/a.

IBCM students were invited to apply for internship positions in either the community or economic development component  of the Stabilization of Roma Ashkalia and Egyptian (RAE) Communities Project in Roma Mahalla. 

Following applicant interviews by a panel consisting of DRC and IBCM representatives, we are happy to welcome Manuela and Arben to our team. 

This is an opportunity for me to work with people and vulnerable groups in particular. I am most excited about being part of the monitoring of activities in Roma Mahalla. Talking to people and listening to their issues is what drives a good project, I believe.
— Manuela Petrovic, Community Development Intern

The interns will assist DRC staff in their daily work and get an insight into all aspects of working with and for communities in Mitrovicë/a. The internship programme started in October and will last until the end of December 2013. DRC considers this internship program a great opportunity to provide work experience to talented youths and benefit from their skills in turn.

This is a unique chance for me to gain practical skills. Everything I learned in IBCM’s Public Service Management can now be demonstrated and explored even deeper in this organization. DRC works with all communities, and in this project specifically with RAE which motivates me to learn more about them. I look forward to working more closely with this community at the Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla.
— Arben Isufi, Economic Development Intern

More information about IBCM and the courses on offer can be found here

The DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica is funded by Sida.

Shukarno Talenti perform at Day of Bosniaks celebration in Mitrovicë/a


Celebrating the Day of Bosniaks on 28 September, the Cultural Centre in Mitrovicë/a hosted colourful performances by local folklore groups. Roma Mahalla's very own dance troupe, Shukarno Talenti, was among the groups invited to entertain the audience throughout the evening. 

Shukarno Talenti is a self-organized group of youths from Roma Mahalla, who meet every week to practice their routines. Shukarno Talenti has recently been registered as an NGO and older members are now also teaching younger children. For both children and youths, Shukarno Talenti is not only a fun after-school activity, but also a way to pass on their heritage to younger generations and keep the folk dance traditions alive in the community.

Shukarno Talenti are part of Danish Refugee Council's community development projects, funded by Sida as part of the 'Stabilization of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Community Project' in Roma Mahalla, Mitrovicë/a. 

'Vullneti i Grave' continue their success at Handicrafts fairs in Prishtina and beyond


During the last 3 months, Roma Mahalla's women's group 'Vullneti i Grave' have gained valuable experience selling their hand-made creations at various fairs in Prishtina. They participated in a fair organized by the Ministry of Diaspora in June and just recently in the five-day 'Handicrafts and Cultural Heritage Fair 2013' organized by the NGO 'Open Door' which is held every year in September in Prishtina. 

With every fair, the women honed their skills in talking to customers and in displaying their products. Using that knowledge, Vullneti i Grave even organized their own fair with the support of DRC's implementing partner, NGO Lulebora. The Vullneti i Grave fair brought together five NGO's and women's groups from Mitrovicë/a and Fushë Kosova, giving them the opportunity to exhibit and sell their products on Mother Teresa Square in Prishtina.

If you are curious to see the products for yourself, Vullneti i Grave will be at the Handicrafts Fair in Gjilan from 30/9 to 1/10. For more information about the women, their stories and products, visit their website www.vullnetiigrave.com or follow them on facebook.

Vullneti i Grave are part of the community development component under the 'Stabilization of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Community Project' 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.


DRC supports literacy classes for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian women and youth

55 women and 20 youth from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities based in Roma Mahalla and 2 Korriku in Mitrovicë/a started literacy classes on July 15 ,2013. The initiative will be implemented by two RAE women LNGO’s (Roma Women for Roma Women and Women Group 2 Korriku). The project is supported by Caritas Kosovo and will be conducted by professional teachers appointed by the Department for Education in Mitrovicë/a.


During the five months of working with the teachers, the women and youth will improve their reading and writing skills and be able to fill out official forms by themselves, write, read and sign letters. In addition, during the implementation of the project, DRC will work on capacity building of the two RAE women NGO’s.

In this way the RAE women and youth gain the ability to be more independent in society, find a job more easily and integrate more fully into society.

After completing the 5 months of classes they will be rewarded with certificates from the Department for Education which proves that they finished the course successfully.


The DRC Kosovo Stabilization of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica is funded by SIDA.

Roma Mahalla folklore group “Shukarno Talenti” performs during RAE week


     The purpose of promoting Roma culture, through music and dancing is to empower ethnic minority Roma children and young people to develop their creative talents, as well as fostering social inclusion and cohesion, which aids their access to mainstream education.

Bringing Roma dance to the stage is sometimes challenging. However Shukarno Talenti, the Roma folklore group and Roma music band from Roma Mahalla in Mitrovica/ë want to bring their traditions to life through dance.

      From the spring till the end of autumn the RAE community have numerous celebrations and gatherings, across Kosovo and the region. One of them is the festival and celebration of Roma culture in Kosovo which took place in Kosovo Polje/Fush Kosove 31 July 2013.

Despite their difficult economic situation, duties around the school and home this group of enthusiasts pushes the boundaries within and outside their communities.

Among several RAE groups that performed that day “Shukarno Talenti” came to attention with their bright red costumes and the energy that they transferred to the audience who came to watch them and random passers-by who stopped for a moment  to be delighted with the rhythm and acrobatics of this performance. Among a large audience, there were many representatives of Kosovo institutions including the Deputy U.S. Ambassador.

Watch the documentary: Environment protection in Roma Mahalla

This short film documents the activities of a community Environment Protection project carried out in Roma Mahalla, Mitrovicë/a in 2012. The film shows the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities’ efforts to improve their environment by organizing clean-up days, building a park and educating the community about recycling, garden maintenance and environment protection in general. Workshops and activities for children, women and men were implemented in partnership with Caritas Kosovo, Danish Refugee Council and the RAE LNGO Ardhmeria RAE.

Today, Roma Mahalla is home to around 300 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian families and is located in the southern part of Mitrovicë/a town, south of the river Ibar.

Before the conflict around 7000 to 8000 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians lived there. In summer 1999, all inhabitants of Roma Mahalla fled to Northern Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, and Western Europe where they lived in lead-contaminated camps for the following 8 years.

In 2005 a political agreement was reached between the Mitrovicë/a Municipality, OSCE, UNHCR, and UNMIK to allow and support the return to Roma Mahalla. The reconstruction of Roma Mahalla officially began in April 2006 with the foundations being laid for two apartment blocks on municipal land, implemented by NCA, followed by the reconstruction of 54 houses on private land, implemented by the Danish Refugee Council.

With the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR), DRC facilitated the return of 48 families to Roma Mahalla in 2007, most of whom have continued to rebuild their lives there. Roma Mahalla is one of the most challenging return sites in Kosovo, as it is the first significant return project in Mitrovicë/a and the first large-scale urban return of a minority group. DRC’s work with the community in Roma Mahalla continues and today focuses on economic development and community development measures.


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.