It’s early morning in Pristina, the Capital of Kosovo. The dust still covers the city while 22-year-old Martin Berisha is sitting in the kitchen of a small 2-room apartment he shares with 3 of his best friends. He has to leave early for studies and won’t come back home before 9pm. Besides his studies, he works tirelessly to earn enough money for his living. Like many other youngsters in Kosovo, his future is uncertain.
Kosovo is the youngest country in Europe and about 50 percent of the inhabitants are under the age of 25. But it’s the young generation in Kosovo that suffers most – The youth-unemployment rate is about 60 percent and although a lot of young people are well educated, they struggle to find a job in their profession. „It’s quite hard to keep up with everything“, tells Martin who just started his own company to make a living out of it. „I try to set up priorities. But I have to skip a lot of classes to do the working part.“ Most of the young and modern people live in Pristina, study and have a big impact on the character of the city. „After the independence in 2007 we hoped that our young generation has a chance to cooperate, to compete and to be equal with the other youngsters in Europe,“ tells Martin. But Kosovo still must face difficult problems – Their independence is still not recognised by 5 states in Europe, the air pollution is one of the highest in Europe and corruption takes place in nearly every sector. With regularity, young people organize protests against the government.
On 5th of November in 2016 an event provoked the entire country.
„A young boy, an activist and first of all a citizen of Kosovo was killed in Prizren Jail“, tells Valeza Mjeku, who organises protests and runs the Facebook-page concerning the case. 26-year old Astrit Dehari, who was an activist from the opposition movement Vetevendosje, died in jail. His death happened under uncertain circumstances and people are still protesting in front of the Government building in Pristina. The tinny sound of megaphones echoes „Drejtësi për Astritin“ (justice for Astrit) and a wall of signs stretches high in front of the building. The pressure on the government grows as foreign experts claim they proofed, that Dehari was murdered. A few weeks ago, 23-year-old Gent got arrested during a demonstration he took part in. He got out of prison after one day, but the bruises from the brutal behaviour of the policemen lasted much longer. „The country is still ruled by irresponsible, corrupt politicians“, he says. „And we, the youth, are suffering the most.“
Gent and his family lived in Germany for 7 years, but they moved back to Pristina after the war, to continue their life in their hometown. Gent still dreams about becoming an actor. He took part in several plays across the country, but couldn’t pay the acting school anymore.
Now, like many of his fellow students, he thinks about leaving Kosovo after studies. But they want to come back, to lead Kosovo into a better future for the next generations.
by Arne Piepke & Tim Brederecke