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OneMinutesJr workshop in Kosovo - Day 3

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2010
Three times lucky - young Roma boys filming during the OneMinutesJr workshop in Mitrovica.

Day 3 of the OneMinutesJr workshop in Mitrovica sees us travelling across the river Iber to the northern side of the city. We have to switch cars near the river since there is a history of ethnic troubles between Albanians and Serbians in this part of the country. We drive on to the Roma camp Osterode. Several hundred of Roma live here in this former French army barracks and the adjoining containers.

Suada (15) and her smaller brothers Mewruz and Sultan live here with their parents and six other family members. Suada's father tells us about the 16 years he spent with his family in Germany and how they were forced to return some years ago, leaving parts of the family in Macedonia and parts in Kosovo. They are re-united now, but the living conditions in the heavily lead-contaminated camp Osterode are far from being acceptable.

In the camp, we meet Borim, a 28-year-old Roma who was forcibly returned to Kosovo from Germany about two weeks ago. Borim is disillusioned to say the least. "The rest of my family, five people, are still in Germany. I am the only one who was forced to leave. I spent ten years in Germany. I never got in trouble with the police, I went to school, I worked. What am I going to do here? I have nothing. I have no future. There are no jobs here. I am glad I don't have a family. Just imagine you are returned to this place with young children? It's the end of the line.", Borim says to us in perfect German.

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2010
Children in the Roma camp Osterode in Mitrovica.

Sultan (13), one of the workshop participants, is always bullied around here. They call him "Germano", the German. He has been back for four years now, but he does not feel fully integrated. His film will be about this and will show what it feels like to be a foreigner in your own country.

We continue the filming even further north, in Zitkovac where a Roma camp used to exist up to the year 2006. It was heavily contaminated and closed after pressure from United Nations human rights bodies and nongovernmental organizations. Ramadan (15) and Nerdji (11) both used to live here and today walk on the ruins of their former home.

It has been a very depressing day for us today, seeing the living conditions of the Roma children in Osterode, listening to the stories of forced returns, witnessing the loss of hope and the complete disillusion of the young people here. It is hard to imagine what their future will look like. Or whether they have one at all...

Mitrovica, Kosovo - April 28, 2010 - Chris Schuepp

 

 
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