The Serbian citizens of Klina, among others, received two grants that encourage those who live in Klina to stay there, and motivate others to return to Kosovo from Serbia.
Officials at the municipality of Klina say that these grants were included in the 2002 governmental project aimed to return the Serbian community to their homes. This project was supported by USAID (United States Agency for International Development), DRC (Danish Refugee Council), RTM (Reggio Terzo Mondo), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and many other organizations.
Ranko Kostic, integration official in the Directorate for Communities and Return in the municipality of Klina says: “The Serbian community has profited a lot from the investments of these organizations. They built houses, apartments, a dairy, a football field; they paved roads, and fixed the water and electricity system.”
Kostic and the return official, Silvija Raskovic, mention two important grants that the Serbian community profited from.
They received tractors and other agricultural equipment from a 50,000 € USAID grant, whereas a 400,000 € grant from the European Union helped the Serbian community build a cooperative for meat production called “Eva Cooperative,” which helped many people in the community stay in Klina.
51 year old Tatjana Ilic, born in Prishtina, returned to Kosovo in 2005 with her husband and son. While she lived in Serbia, she worked at different family businesses like restaurants and bakeries. Although she had a good job, her family decided to return to Videja, the village where her husband came from.
Her husband Trajko says: “I was born here, I grew up here and I have very good relations with my neighbors. This is my home!”
They now live in a house built by the project to return the Serbian community, since the house where they lived before the war of 1999 was completely destroyed.
Tatjana’s engagement in creating the association “Eva” shows the good relations they have with their neighbors. “Eva” was founded in 2006 by Albanian, Serbian and Roman women from the municipality of Klina, with the aim to empower women.
Apart from her engagement in the association, Tatjana is also a leader at the meat cooperative in Klina that was built with the help of the EU grant.
Nicola Battistella, coordinator of RTM in Kosovo, who is responsible for this organization’s rural development project explains: “This grant was awarded to a project called AWARE (Action of Women in Agribusiness for a new Regional Economy). The project was written by RTM (Reggion Terzo Mondo) an Italian organization that has been dealing with the cooperation between different ethnic groups in Kosovo since 1999, as well as the association “Eva”.
“Eva Cooperative” started working on May 20th this year and currently has six workers: two men who work as butchers and four women, two of which are Albanians. The cooperative produces fresh meat, smoked meat, and sausages. These products are not only sold in different markets and restaurants in Klina but also in other cities like Prishtina, Gjakova, Graҫanica and Mitrovica.
Apart from the factory, the project has built pig stables for 12 families: six Albanian and six Serbian, so they can cover the need for meat in the cooperative.
Tatjana Ilic says: “Overall, I am very happy with the job I have. I am also happy for the women who work in this cooperative.”