Kosovo was wracked by atrocities during its war for independence from the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s, a conflict that only ended when the United States and NATO intervened to end the brutal violence. The conflict saw horrific acts perpetrated against the women of the country. Rape and torture were used as instruments of warfare in a campaign that left thousands dead and many more injured, both physically and psychologically. The wounds – both visible and invisible – plague Kosovo’s women to this day.
The US and Kosovar governments have made support for these victims of unspeakable violence a priority. The need to restore their dignity and confidence has become even more important with the advent of religious extremism: research suggests that empowered women – women who have the confidence to lead their communities – are some of the most effective counters to extremist influence and recruitment.
A US Army Civil Affairs team working out of the Embassy in Kosovo told Spirit of America about a key way to help abused women regain their confidence. A community in central Kosovo had recently donated a building for use as a shelter, a safe space for victims from around the county to seek counseling and therapy. Staff were assigned to it, but the building had fallen into such disrepair that it was unusable.
With your support, Spirit of America can fund basic repairs so that Kosovar women can come to the shelter, receive proper treatment, and become leaders in their communities. With your support, they will be empowered to take a stand against violence and extremism.