Kosovo is a country with a complex history. Devastated by a very long war, even after more than twenty years, it still suffers from many economic and social difficulties.

Kosovo is one of the youngest countries in Europe with more than half of the population under the age of 25. Many boys and girls experience a very frustrating condition: they have limited job opportunities and university studies are almost useless for achieving a satisfactory job position.

Widespread phenomena such as clientelism and corruption aggravate the situation. The unemployment rate in 2021 was estimated at 26%, with a very high incidence of youth unemployment (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) and many minors try to reach EU countries clandestinely, feeding organized crime trafficking.

The condition of women in Kosovo is also problematic, especially in rural areas. Although the legislation guarantees equal rights and freedoms, women are often victims of abuse and when they ask for justice they suffer stigmatization from their families and from society.

Their critical concerns are health, protection from violence, often domestic violence and, in a very marked way, their working condition: around 80% of women do not work. In many cases this is due to a patriarchal mentality that continues to relegate women to he domestic environment, denying them any form of emancipation.

Investing in young people to create the future

Leskoc House addresses these issues as an institution active in the area since the immediate post-war period and managed by Caritas Umbria. Coordinated by Rinaldo Marion and Francesca Mosca, the Home welcomes children and adolescents from families who live in marginalized conditions due to extreme poverty, mental problems, prostitution, and detention experiences.

For them, life is an uphill battle at school, seeking a job, and in their relationships. The aim for the most fragile and most difficult ones, is to work in the protected environment of the House or the annexed cooperative that manages the land, the farm, the dairy, and the bakery.

To address this, we have conceived a project for 2023 that is aimed at accompanying the youngest on a path of personal and social fulfillment through training and work, for the achievement of full personal dignity and a social role as active, responsible individuals and to create concrete opportunities that allow them to remain in their country of origin and commit themselves to its development.

The girls and boys involved in the project

There will be four young men and women involved in this journey:

  • Dardana is 20 years old and was welcomed into the House of Leskoc, together with her sister and brother, when she was very small. Her mother died and her father had serious health problems. Thanks to a university scholarship made available by the Valter Baldaccini Foundation last year, Dardana enrolled in the first year of the history faculty at the University of Pristina, but then she decided to change her studies to attend the social sciences faculty.
  • Dorentina is 19 years old and is the third of five siblings welcomed in 2007 because the children lived in a state of complete abandonment. She never went to school so she willingly and enthusiastically welcomed the idea of starting a training and job placement course in the cooperative's dairy.
  • Valentina is 23 years old and belongs to one of the poorest families in the area. She was 10 when she was first taken into the home, along with a very sick older sister. Valentina is a young woman who is trying to build a future for herself, but to be independent she needs a job. For this reason, a job position was created for her within the reception facility, in the kitchen and in the laundry and ironing room.
  • Hasimet is 21 years old, and he was 5 when he was welcomed into the house. Motherless and with an elderly, fragile father who was unable to take care of him Hasimet encountered many difficulties in attending school. For him, however, today a process of job placement in the cooperative's bakery has begun.

Following the girls and boys of the Leskoc House since 2016

Since 2016, the Valter Baldaccini Foundation has been building socio-educational projects that are concrete opportunities for social redemption together with the Casa di Leskoc and the Shoqata cooperative and Agrikultur Sociale Zllakuqan (CSZ).

  • in 2016, the socio-educational project Development and job training in Kosovo was launched with a small herd of ten dairy cows, a milking machine and a pasteurizer, essential for starting up milk production and sales;
  • in 2019 a new stable was built and the volunteers from the Valter Baldaccini Foundation participated in a volunteer experience;
  • in 2020 the pandemic forced us to review a new project designed for women to make up for the house’s economic difficulties; in fact, thanks to the Foundation's contribution, twenty new calves were purchased;
  • in 2021 a training and work project dedicated to women was carried out with the aim of giving a small group of women an important opportunity for redemption, one of them was permanently employed by the cooperative's dairy;
  • in 2022 the Valter Baldaccini Foundation once again focued its attention on young women and provided access to university for Ariana and Dardana; during the academic year Dardana chose to change faculty and go from the faculty of History to that of Social Sciences, while Ariana realized that university was not the path she wanted pursue, so left school and today works and lives in Pristina together with her sister.

Photo credit: Francesca Boccabella

22 December 2023

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10 May 2023

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21 February 2023

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