The people of three villages in Kosovo will have access to warm and dry meeting areas this winter, thanks to the generosity of the government of the Isle of Man.
The government has awarded £30,000 to a project of CARE International to give practical support to isolated communities by building community centres.
Of the one million ethnic Albanians who fled Kosovo between March and June, over 800,000 have now returned.
However, 65 percent of homes have been destroyed or badly damaged, making them uninhabitable.
Schools, hospitals and health centres were also destroyed or damaged, leaving little or no community infrastructure.
The Isle of Man funding will contribute to improving the lives of 1,800 people in the three rural villages of Krasoverija, Tumicina and Duga, in mountainous areas north-east of Prizren.
CARE International will construct a community centre in each village with materials funded by the Isle of Man government to enable vulnerable people to survive the harsh winter in safe and dry conditions.
Each village has identified an appropriate community building or land for such a building. Centres will be built by local people using outside contractors where necessary.
The centres will provide ‘safe areas’ for young children to learn and play, warm rooms for elderly people, rooms for community meetings, women’s groups and religious activities and rooms for storing food supplies over winter.
This is the second time the Isle of Man government has worked with CARE International to support the people of Kosovo. In April the Isle of Man appeal for Kosovo refugees received an overwhelming response. Clothes, shoes, blankets, duvets, nappies and other items were bagged and labelled by volunteers.
The Isle of Man government paid for the shipment of the goods to Cegrane refugee camp in Macedonia, temporary home of 45,000 refugees. CARE International then distributed the items to refugees.
Will Day, chief executive of CARE International UK, says: ‘We are delighted that the Isle of Man government is supporting this important project in Kosovo.
Although the war has finished, vulnerable people still have urgent needs of shelter, food, water and health care.
We look forward to our continued partnership with the government and people of the Isle of Man.’
Note to editors: CARE International relief and development agency has been working in the Balkans since 1993 and in Kosovo since 1998. The agency was forced to suspend operations in Kosovo in March 1999 but returned three days after the first NATO troops went in.
This project is part of CARE International’s wider shelter and rebuilding programme in Kosovo. Other activities include food distribution, agricultural rehabilitation and mine awareness and mine-destruction programmes.