Mitorovica- Family of 13 members of Ashkali community lives in hard economical conditions close to the railway station on the outskirts of Mitrovica. The head of the family Ryva Shabani (65) narrates about her life and how she copes with every day difficulties and the grave economic conditions.
Though alone, she has to cope with only 80 euros a month. Mother Ryva came out to receive us at the door of the hut. The door was only a scrap of an old car part. She said she always hoped that someone would have thought about them. The rest of the family came around mother Ryva, and with tears in her eyes she said that it is hard to raise and feed them Children were curious to know why we visited them; our presence probably gave them little hope that someone will come to help them. Mejrem (19) offered us a cup of tea, but Arlinda (14) looked at her sister’s eyes and said with regret that they have no sugar for guests. Children looked so miserable; their lips were blackened of cold. Muhamet, her eldest of the children, passed away 3 years ago and left behind two orphans, the daughter Emine (10) and the son (6) Brusli.
Mother Ryva started speaking about her sufferings, saying that she has been living for 12 years in this cold hut. There has been four years since her husband died, and after a year she experienced the death of the eldest son Muhamet. Besides her own eleven orphans, she has to take care of two more orphans left after the death of her own son.She explains that her children lack basic things for living and due to severe economic conditions they remained illiterate; no child is educated; they do not even know how to write their names. Many of Shabani family did not know how old they were. The grave economic situation and lack of living conditions are the main reasons that all children remained illiterate.
Ryva says that together with her granddaughter and grandson she has every day to go for begging to secure a piece of bread while the boys collect tin cans. "I have every day problem how to secure food for children. Children grow up every day and they need food and clothing ".In addition, she speaks about difficult housing conditions. “Doors and windows are broken, we miss firewood to get warm in this cold winter, there is lack of electricity”, she said.
"The house has three rooms, in total 56 square meters and is paved with concrete cobblestones. Instead of glass we have put plastic on the windows” .The mother with tears in her eyes tells that she had no fortune, nor the property of her own. "We have always lived whenever we found any deserted house”. She has submitted so many time the requests at the municipality for shelter, but the municipality still has not provided them a shelter. Ryva says that all she wants is having a permanent shelter. Her dream is to send children to school, to become their own master, and she hopes somebody will think of her family, too.
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