First multi-ethnic gender-based violence shelter in Kosovo to open doors
A milestone in the fight to eliminate gender-based violence in Kosovo has been reached with the inauguration of the first multiethnic shelter for gender-based violence survivors in Novo Brdo/Novobërdë and surrounding areas that will support Serbian speakers.
The February 7 inauguration, attended by dignitaries from around Kosovo, represented the culmination of months of efforts by local and international authorities. Local women’s rights NGO ‘Naš Dom’ transformed a disused high school building into the shelter, after it was donated by the municipality.
“Violence against women is a continuing plague in all corners of the world. We all need to work together across all communities to address this global problem. The opening of this shelter today represents one small, but very important step in this direction.” DSRSG Robert Pulver
With the support of the municipality and international organizations such as UNMIK, KFOR, OSCE and USAID, Naš Dom turned the building into a secure and safe space to house up to 12 women and children in need of shelter and psychological support.
Shelter manager Vesna Stajić says she cannot overstate how important it is for gender-based violence survivors to have a safe space to recuperate in.
“There are at least 20 women survivors of domestic violence from this region that contacted us either through police, or prosecution or in different ways”.
Stajić, who says she is motivated to work with gender-based violence survivors due to her own past experience with domestic violence in the family and the need for community-building, says there is an urgent need for the shelter to become operational so it can begin offering support to survivors.
She says the shelter is ready to open its doors with enough staff on hand, who are currently working on a voluntary basis until all the administrative processes and permissions are finalized.
During the inauguration UNMIK Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Robert Pulver commended the collaboration between municipal authorities, Naš Dom and the international community in establishing the shelter and providing the necessary support to survivors of domestic violence. He also expressed hopes the shelter’s licence would be processed by the Kosovo Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare as soon as possible.
“Violence against women is a continuing plague in all corners of the world. We all need to work together across all communities to address this global problem. The opening of this shelter today represents one small, but very important step in this direction.”
Last year, UNMIK allocated funds to equip the shelter in Novo Brdo/Novobërdë with security cameras and additional infrastructure, to ensure the safety of survivors of domestic violence.