My name is Remzije
My husband died 16 years ago, from a heart attack after the war. I was left alone to look after our 5 young children.
After my husband died, everything was dark. Other family members supported me, but I felt very stressed and experienced health problems.
My sister-in-law had participated in the Women for Women International training, and my brother suggested it could be good for me. He said I could participate in handcrafts training, and learn how to make products for sale.
At first I was very shocked, and worried about what people in the village might think about me travelling alone. They would say ‘she is a widow with small children, why is she leaving the house?’
My brother offered to drive me to the training, and look after the children. But still there were rumours in the village – that I am a bad mother, not taking care of my children. I persuaded my best friend to join with me, so I wouldn’t be the only one from the village taking part.
Joining the Women for Women International programme was the biggest change in my life. I found myself. I was convinced that I was alone, the only person who had experienced such difficulties. But in the programme I found friends in a similar situation.
Our work in Kosovo
Women in Kosovo struggle for economic and social equality in a patriarchal society that offers limited job opportunities. During the Kosovo War in 1999, an estimated 20,000 Kosovar women were subjected to systematic rape. In the years following, rates of sexual assault, domestic violence, and sex trafficking have remained high.
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I will continue mobilising other women in the community in utilising the lessons I have learned, and I hope many more of them will be part of the training.
I was alone and had to take care of the children who were all very young at the time. I couldn’t imagine them growing without their father around. He was the one who provided for them.
Our neighbour knocked at the door and asked ‘Why are you not escaping?’ She told us that they are kidnapping girls and killing men, so we decided to run away and not take anything with us.