Protestant evangelical student group that operates within the Fellowship of the Lord’s People Church in Prishtina, yesterday organized a prayer initiative with banners against the Kosovar population mass emigration to countries of the European Union (EU). They have created an online hash tag “Do not flee Kosova has hope” through which they convey the message of hope for all those who are considering taking the path of migration in search of the lost hope.
Every evening from the Prishtina Bus Station about ten buses depart Kosovars who take the road to European Union countries in search of a better life. Men, women and children fill buses who take them initially to Belgrade, and then from there to Serbia-Hungary border in Vojvodina. In the absence of documentation, the border must be crossed illegally with the help of smugglers who receive from kosovars significant amounts of money in exchange for illegal border crossing.
This phenomenon has taken worrying proportions. The recent reports indicate empty villages and residents who sell their properties in order to provide enough money to smugglers who help them to cross the border.
According to Eurostat statistics, in 2013 over 20,000 Kosovars have sought asylum in EU countries. In 2014, this number was even higher. According to unofficial data only during the first two months of 2015 about 50,000 Kosovar Albanians have left the country. Statistics from Kosova schools tell that 5000 scholars are missing in primary and secondary schools accross the country.
The main reason why people take this action is extremely difficult economic situation and no prospects for Kosova’s youth. Official data for general unemployment tell that over 40% unemployed while this figure reaches 70% among the youth. About 12% of the population live in extreme poverty on less than 1 (one) euros a day.
Ilmi, a Pristina resident who along with three other family members had failed to penetrate in Hungary due to the increased border control measures, explaining the reason for choosing this route, says: “In EU countries at least we will have enough food to eat. Here, we are suffering from hunger. Life has become expensive while salaries do not pay enough to spend for that month”.
Protestant churches everywhere in Kosova have provided assistance to the population by all means available, including providing daily food for families in need. This month, KPEC undertook an initiative to mobilize as many churches and people in Kosova and in the world to pray to God for Kosova and the people of Kosova. One of our prayer requests was that God would restore the lost hope among the people of Kosova.
Further, the Protestant Evangelical student youth group from the Fellowship of the Lord’s People Church in Prishtina, yesterday took an original initiative. They, holding banners in their hands had gathered at the Prishtina Bus Station raising their voice against the phenomenon of migration. Banners bearing inscriptions: “Do not flee – there is hope over here”, “This country needs you”, “Kosova has hope”, etc. They have also created an online hash tag with this topic and are trying to encourage their peers that in God there is hope for them, for our nation and for Kosova as whole.