This article is one that I’m extremely proud of, written for Gazeta Express back in July of last year.
“I was born in north side of Mitrovica,” said newborn Dženita Shabani, 21 years of age. “But after the war we moved to the south side, because there were Serbian people living where we used to live.”
That was one of the many challenges the Newborn generation had to face after the war. To come home after months of being forced into refuge, only to find that someone has taken your home without any notice whatsoever.
“During the war we lived in Sarajevo for one year,” said Shabani. “And then afterwards, we came back.”
Today, Mitrovica is split up into two parts. The south side, where it is dominantly resided by Albanians, and the north side, where it is dominantly resided by Serbians. The Ibar river separates the two sides. People can cross into either side through the Ibar bridge.
Much like the rest of Kosovo after the war, Mitrovica suffered a great amount of damage.
“When I came back, my aunt’s house was burned and destroyed,” said Shabani. “The roads were also destroyed as well.”
However, the city was able to undergo a period of reconstruction to rebuild it back to its original shape before the war.
“For about five years after the war, the people built up the roads, the system and the schools,” said Shabani.
Shabani is half-albanian and half-bosnian. She currently studies at the International Business College in Mitrovica.
“I study environmental and agricultural management,” said Shabani. “This college helps students find jobs and improve our country.”
In addition to her studies, she also works with NGO’s such as the Danish Refugee Council.
“The program I work for helps with the Ashkali, Roma and Egyptian communities,” explained Shabani. “It allows us to provide them with medical help, give them more perspective in education and to provide them with a better system of living.”
There is still a large Roma community in Mitrovica, with over 130 families living in the city. However, before the war there had been over 700 families residing there. They were forced to flee and were unable to return to their homes.
“My work helps me to recognize that all people are equal, that all people have equal rights,” commented Shabani. “To study, to live, to have a different approach and to have a better system of living their lives.”
Shabani’s work has inspired her to bring happiness into other people’s lives.
“I love to see the people happy, I want to know how they live and what they can change,” revealed Shabani. “I would like to help the families, because it created a sadness inside of me when I see that people do not care about the communities here, (Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian) and that is why I work with the Danish Refugee Council.”
Mitrovica is developing into a better place to live, in the eyes of Shabani.
“After the war, people stood up and did things for Mitrovica,” said Shabani. “And I guess Mitrovica now will change even more for the better, I hope. The people here rely on hope.”
Certain places in Mitrovica have a special place in her heart, such as the bridge and the river. In spite of its beauty, the bridge and the river symbolizes the divide between the Albanians and Serbians.
“I hope that one day they will live in peace, they going to work together and this will all be finished, forever I hope,” said Shabani. “I hope for the better Mitrovica.”
The Newborn generation in Kosovo brings promise to the country, developing it for the better.
“The young generation recognize the problem of the country,” revealed Shabani. ‘They have more awareness, and take more responsibility for what they are saying.”
“I am Kosovar I’m proud of that,” she added.
Link to original article: http://www.gazetaexpress.com/en/news/the-life-of-a-newborn-living-in-mitrovica-172768/