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    Soldiers nurture relationship with domestic violence shelter in Kosovo

    Soldiers nurture relationship with domestic violence shelter in Kosovo

    Photo By Nadine Wiley De Moura | Center for Protection of Women and Children staff and Soldiers from Kosovo Force...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Nadine Wiley De Moura 

    100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo --- Toting boxes of femine hygiene products, blankets, snacks and clothes, six Kosovo Force Regional Command East Soldiers greeted the women of the Ferizaj/Urosovec Center for Protection of Women and Children July 24, 2020.

    The all female Soldier-team are one of multiple Liaison Monitoring Teams in Kosovo Force’s Regional Command East. Meetings like this are important for the LMTs to create open lines of communication between KFOR, build relationships and foster a stable environment for all of the people in Kosovo.

    “We met with the women’s shelter in order to get an update of the picture of domestic violence in the municipality,” said 2nd Lt. Teresa Smalls, Liaison Monitoring Team “Kilo 21”commander. “Being an all female team is an extremely rare thing and allows us to reach certain demographics in Kosovo that other teams cannot.”

    The Center for Protection of Women and Children, also known as “My Home” has a mission
    to create an environment for the promotion of women's rights in Kosovo, to improve health, well-being for women and children in the Ferizaj region regardless of race, age, gender and religion.

    “We have been having these meetings with KFOR LMTs since 2014,” said Sevdije Kasumi Banjku, the domestic violence shelter manager. “I am happy to see women taking care of women. Even during COVID, we always find a way to have these meetings and work together for great things with KFOR and provide a wider vision and prioritize our efforts.”

    Despite COVID-19, the LMT team, organic to the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon Army National Guard continues their mission of supporting the institutions in Kosovo.

    Their visit followed a mass donation of bedding and linens to the shelter and other surrounding schools in the municipality earlier in the month. The donation was led by Army Support Group Balkans and supported by KFOR Regional Command East.

    Small’s team was one of the groups who participated in the donation event.

    “We’ve really just built a friendship with this shelter and have been able to help them in little ways that they are super appreciative of,” said Smalls.

    Banjku mentioned the shelter is currently advocating for a public building to ensure the safety of the shelter’s victims.

    “I know I will have your support even if I have to carry bricks, we would all build it ourselves,” said Banjku. “The LMTs help by continuing to address the issue to the municipality to ensure a public location. We want to continue to work with KFOR in future rotations.”

    Banjku, recognized that one of their primary missions is to bring awareness to the citizens in the municipality of domestic violence especially during the pandemic.

    “Because of the pandemic, women and children are safer at home,” said Banjku.

    During the meeting the group recognized that domestic violence is a world-wide issue.

    According to the World Health Organization, globally, 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by any perpetrator in their lifetime.

    Violence against women tends to increase during every type of emergency, including epidemics. Women who are displaced, refugees, and living in conflict-affected areas are particularly vulnerable.

    As distancing measures are put in place and people are encouraged to stay at home, the risk of intimate partner violence is likely to increase.

    “Each woman has a different history and a different story,” said Banjku. “ I would like each of them to get out more powerful and strong.”

    Smalls said that the relationship with the shelter has left a lasting impact on her and her team because they are able to relate with the group on issues surrounding their personal experiences as women.

    “We get to build each other up and not just with the women’s shelter but even meeting with some of the females in the municipality,” said Smalls “We share encouragement and show the strength and abilities that we do have as women.”



    Date Taken: 07.24.2020
    Date Posted: 07.30.2020 05:44
    Story ID: 374785
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 

    Web Views: 440
    Downloads: 1