Children need you to listen

How we can build a brighter future for Kosovo's (SCR 1244) children

by Artjola Sahiti
Artjola Sahidi, the author, smiling.
Artjola Sahidi

23 September 2018

In "Our Voices: Young people from across the region", we amplify young people’s voices through a series of articles, personal stories, blog posts and videos.  This is a platform for young people in the Region to shed light on their experiences and offer solutions to the challenges they face.  All views expressed here belong to the authors, and do not represent the views of UNICEF.

 

 

About the author: Artjola Sahidi, is 18 and lives in Prishtina, Kosovo (SCR 1244) with her parents and siblings. She is currently a first year student of English Language and Literature. Artjola loves writing and reading and hopes to start a charity organisation to help with local community issues.

 

Children in Kosovo (SCR 1244) are very talented and intelligent, with so many dreams for their futures. However, my country has never been a paradise for children; a place where they can grow up into the people they dream of becoming.

Here children go through so many difficulties, such as child labour and being forced to work on the streets. According to one organization, more than 100,000 children below the age of 14 live on less than €1 per day which leads many of them to beg on the streets of the city. In turn, this affects their education, because getting money in this way is more important than attending school. Happily, thanks to a draft Law on Child Protection in 2016, Kosovo (SCR 1244) has made significant improvements in prohibiting the use of children in illicit activities.

Another major issue children in my country deal with is violence. Though violence against children is the most vicious thing a human can do it is still present in our society. Parents use violence as a tool to get their children to obey the rules they set, or as a form of punishment, but this only results in a lack of self-confidence and even severe depression. This makes children grow away from their parents and causes them to lose trust in others too. Children who suffer abuse get scared to speak their minds because they fear the punishment that comes with it.

Boy in a crowd of school children, a prticipant in the Violence in Schools Campaign conducted by UNICEF in 2006, in Prishtina, Kosovo (SCR 1244).
UNICEF/UN040593/Production
Domestic violence and violence against children represent a widespread phenomenon in Kosovo (SCR 1244) and there appears to be little awareness of the negative impact violence can have on the lives of children and women.

A study published in 2016 about the use of drugs in Kosovo (SCR 1244), shows that children of ages 12 to 15 use narcotics more than adults aged 22 to 25, which is a very concerning issue that needs to be dealt with. The use of drugs does not come from a desire to escape problems or from health conditions, but rather a desperate attempt to fit in, to have more friends, and to not be left out.

My wish for children in my country is:

For them to be heard;

For them to believe they have the power to make a change;

For them to have a helping hand.

I wish that they never have to search the streets for money, that they never have to leave school, but instead see school as an opportunity for a bright future.

There are so many issues children face and they only need someone to listen, someone who won't judge them because of their age but trusts them, understands them, and provide them the help they need.

Because, as a wise quote says, children are not a distraction from the most important work, they are the most important work.

 

The opinions reflected in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of UNICEF.