Snap shots

Reintegration and resocialisation: one mother’s reflections

Reintegration and resocialisation: one mother’s reflections

Reintegration and resocialisation: one mother’s reflections

By Rebeka Qena, Programme Manager, Community Development Fund with Chiara Dedeken, Junior Associate, GCERF 

Zara*, a 31-year-old mother of five seems happy to meet. She says she used to be shy and uncomfortable around new people, but now that has changed. For the past year, Zara has been part of GCERF-funded activities in Kosovo organised by the Community Development Fund (CDF) Consortium and with coordination and support from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. CDF Consortium activities focus on community-based rehabilitation, reintegration, and resocialisation (RRR) of returnees from conflicts abroad and their families. 

The first activity Zara participated in was vocational training offered by CDF. Together with 18 other women, both returnees and women from vulnerable communities, Zara participated in sewing courses in Pristina. “I have grown professionally and my communication has improved,” Zara says.We discuss a lot, but we also laugh a lot.”  

Through a small-scale grant, she received a sewing machine and iron to complete sewing course tasks. In the coming year, CDF aims to provide Zara with market linkages to allow her to take the next steps in becoming a sewing professional. 

Zara and her five children returned to Kosovo in April 2019, alongside 105 other Kosovars returning from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. Her first husband was killed in the conflict, after which she remarried and gave birth to her youngest son. Nonetheless, her first husband’s father took Zara and her five children in upon their return to Kosovo.  

A doting mother, she shares how her children are experiencing the RRR process. Her three youngest have come to Kosovo at an early age. Two of them have joined the regular Kosovo school system, which has facilitated their reintegration and resocialisation with other children. Her youngest is too young to attend, but will likely follow the same path. Her two oldest daughters, on the other hand, need to strengthen their knowledge of the Albanian language and need to make up for the lost schooling before joining their peers. 

Zara worries that despite the support they have received, her children’s progress is slow and they are losing interest in education. To tackle this, CDF and the Ministry are working together with frontline workers on how to best support children to reintegrate into the school system and to socialise with their peers. GCERF-funded activities are offered to all beneficiary children and Zara’s eldest children continue to benefit from extracurricular courses and recreational activities. 

Despite the challenges, the reintegration and resocialisation of Zara’s children in the community seems promising. “Children play happily with other children and the neighbours seem to be extra caring with them. I guess they imagine all the bad things we have been through,” she says with a determined smile. 

Zara appears confident about the future. Through GCERF-supported activities implemented by CDF, Zara has been able to acquire new skills and prioritise her children’s education and future. She has a newfound interest in traveling around Kosovo and understand the small country that welcomed her back better. 

* Not her real name 

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