Site Profiles: Interviewee Areas of Kosovo
Gnjilane/ Gjilan lies 34 KM southeast of Pristina. The Roma population of Gnjilane resides in three enclaves: the Mahala (Lole Ribara), Abdullah Presheva and a small area near Marshal Tito/ Skanderbeg.
is intermittent. Water is of poor quality. The Mahala’s telephones still
function. Mobile phone coverage is limited to Alcatel; too expensive for most
contains 150 uninhabitable Roma homes, and 400 damaged homes. The American
Refugee Committee has repaired six of these domiciles. Over 300 Roma homes are
occupied by Albanians.
minorities have benefited from an immense amount of NGO activity in the area.
Income generation products have been run by Soros, the IRC, ARC and UMCOR.
Balkan Sunflowers created a
attended Serb schools before June of 1999. After, they were cut off from all
2000 UNMIK established a remedial education program with the intent to integrate
Roma children into the Thimi Mitko Albanian primary school in Gnjilane. Tefik
Agushi, the then-community leader, countered this by claiming that the children
would be in danger. UNMIK countered by arranging transportation to the nearest
Serbian school, in the
independently decided that the Roma remedial program would become a Romanes
school. UNMIK’s integration effort lost community support, and UNMIK
Department of Education, Science and Technology’s refusal to recognize the
establishment of parallel education systems, (and Agushi’s oft-times “lack
of transparency” in regard to finances), ensured that the new Roma school- the
‘Blue Door School-’ received no funding or recognition.
school has now been recognized by UNMIK. Classes are now conducted by two
Serbian teachers and untrained Roma volunteers. 65 children, aged 7- 17, are
enrolled. The school fosters isolation; there is no option of continued
students attend school in the Serb
Balkan Sunflowers runs a kindergarten in the Mahala. They also offer homework
assistance, computer and foreign language instruction. The Soros Foundation
instituted an adult literacy program.
Gnjilane Roma claim that 7000 Roma lived in Gnjilane before 1999.
Roma IDPs from Pristina and Uroševac/ Ferizaj live in the Mahalas.
Who We Were, Who We Are: Kosovo Roma Oral Histories
©Bobby Anderson 2003-2009. All rights reserved.
This project was made possible by the generous financial support of the Open Society Institute Roma Culture Initiative.
Additional thanks to all other
donors & implementers
This study may be freely distributed, in whole or part, so long as the source is cited:
Who We Were, Who We Are: Kosovo Roma Oral Histories © Bobby Anderson 2003-2009
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