Luani has worked all his life as a TV and Radio mechanic in Mitrovica. Two years ago, he rented a workshop space at DRC's Business incubator in Roma Mahalla. 'I wanted to help this community. Most of the young people here are without skills and with what I can teach them I believe they have better chances at getting a good job.'
In his time at the Business Incubator, Luani has taken on over 20 apprentices and provided on-the-job training in theoretical and practical skills for repair and installation of TVs, Radios and other electrical equipment.
We have some customers from within the Roma Mahalla, but most of our work is for clients from Mitrovica and the surrounding area. At the moment there is not a lot of competition here for what we do.' Luani and his apprentices are one of the few mechanic shops that install surround sound systems in holiday coaches and buses. Mounting these systems keeps him and his employees busy especially during the summer. 'We are always trying to find new customers and expand our services and we find that so far word-of-mouth travelled well. However, in the future we will also try and use some of the marketing skills we learned from DRC trainings to expand our business further. The competition never sleeps', he adds with a smile.
Read more about other businesses at the Incubator here
21-year-old Adelina is one of the teacher assistants at DRC's preparatory school in Roma Mahalla. Adelina was born into this community and after being displaced for years was finally able to return. 'Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming a teacher' she explains. 'Most of the children here go to primary school in the town (Mitrovica), but there is a shortage of schools so most children are only taught half-days. It is hard for them to keep up this way. That's why we teach them here and help them with their homework.'
At the school in Roma Mahalla, there are three teachers and two teacher assistants from the community who help the children with maths and writing and other homework assignments. Adelina was trained by the regular teachers and is now responsible for her own group of pupils. 'I really enjoy teaching them and most of the time it is really not that hard to keep the kids focused once they arrive here. We also try to keep in contact with their teachers in town to get feedback on how the kids are doing and to find out if some of them need more support. Already we've seen some progress. Most of the children are getting better at maths and writing especially which motivates me and of course the children as well.'
RAE youth activist Sadeta Gashijani was born in 1990 in Mitrovica and currently lives in Roma Mahalla with her family of ten. From 1999 till 2007 they lived in Cesmin Lug camp as internally displaced persons and were among the first group of returnees to Roma Mahala.
“In 2007 we settled in a house reconstructed by DRC with the support of Sida. While in the camp I had already started getting involved in several youth activities and since then I have continued to work with children and youth. In Roma Mahalla I am involved in community service as one of the most active members of the RAE community. I took part in many courses and trainings organized in Roma Mahala and the neighborhood then tried to share my knowledge and experience with the local youth.”
“I have worked with Caritas Kosovo and RADC as a teacher assistant. Through the NGO Sports without Borders I had training as a sports instructor. With the support of DRC I got involved in the process of designing and implementing various community development initiatives targeting youth, such as campaigns for child labor prevention and the protection of the environment."
“Being trained by Shendeti Kos intensively for one year, I am now formally trained in collecting information and data regarding the health and social welfare of the RAE inhabitants and link them to the appropriate institutions. Very soon I will start to work as a community worker within the Office of Communities and Returns in Mitrovice/a municipality.”
“Since November 2011 I am working as a coordinator with local NGO BIRLIK on establishing the RAE cultural association and the RAE folklore group. My friends and I are very happy to have the opportunity to work together, to use our creative talents for music and dance and to travel. I am well aware that these opportunities are the direct result of the support from Sida and DRC and hope that the support will continue."
"I would like to thank DRC for supporting my efforts to gain knowledge and experience and serve my community and the society as a whole."
The DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica is funded by Sida.