Embassy project helps members of minority community to return to their place of origin
Svetlana Nikolic starts her daily walk from the historic centre of Prizren up the steep hill to the Nenkalaja / Podkaljaja neighbourhood, where the house she was born in is being reconstructed in the traditional style. “In 1999 my family and I fled Prizren after our house was burned to the ground, and in 2003 after my husband’s death, I returned by myself. My house was rebuilt then, but in 2004 during the riots it was destroyed again” Svetlana explains. Since her return in March, she has kept a watchful eye on the progress of the reconstruction.
Most of the returnees share similar stories of losing their homes and spending years in displacement, but they also share a strong bond with their old neighbourhood and a desire to rebuild their lives in Prizren.
The return to Prizren and the reconstruction of Svetlana’s home, and along with the homes of another 12 Serb families, is co-financed by the British Embassy, the Ministry of Communities and Returns and the Municipality of Prizren. The project was implemented by the Danish Refugee Council and its local partner Sveti Spas.
British Ambassador to Kosovo, Ian Cliff, said: “The project supports the right of all communities to live in their place of origin. It helps Kosovo develop as a multi-cultural European state. It also contributes to community sustainability and ensures that the cultural heritage of Prizren is protected and respected. The UK is proud to support the first urban return and reintegration in Kosovo.
Read more about Svetlana’s and other returnees’ stories.