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Qefser Qahili
Qefser Qahili

Visitors to Kosovo sometimes wonder why Kosovo houses are so big and spacious. Entering one of these houses the answer is obvious.

Qefser Qahil and his family of five live in a large house with five rooms. They share this house with Qefser's brother, his wife and their seven children. Qefser's brother works as teacher in the local primary school in Lubishte.

He works the five hectares of land he owns. He can harvest enough flour to bake bread for 10 months of the year. Qefser also works as agricultural labourer on the land of other families.

"If the state would give us petrol for a lower price it would be easier. Or if there would be a possibility to take a credit. But we cannot take a credit, because nobody in my family has a permanent, salaried work. My brother only has a contract for one year as a teacher and a small salary."

Qefser helps finance the studies of his brother's two sons.

This was not the life he had hoped for. His biggest wish had always been to get an education and to find paid work:

"In my youth I wished to get an education, to finish school, and to find work afterwards. But my financial background wouldn't allow it and so I studied physics for only one year. I had to stop and work in agriculture…My father died in 1981 and I had to stop my studies to tend for my old mother and the family.

No one from Qefsers' family is working abroad. Without transfers from abroad, life is very hard:

"The remittances from abroad are very important. Students with parents abroad are getting an education. Others who don't have someone to support them will most likely not get an education. We have many examples here in school where students have to stop their education due to financial problems."

Qefser also dreams of running his own household, separate from that of his brother. It is not by choice but by necessity that the two families still live together. Recently Qefser has begun the construction of a second house, to prepare for dividing the household. Once there will two houses, he and his brother will split the five hectares of land and from that moment on, the two families will operate as two separate economic units.

Qefser has few expectations for the future for himself but hopes for a better life for his children:

"If Kosovo is to become an independent state our youth will have new perspectives but for my generation it is already too late. For the future we expect better chances for our youth und maybe the West, the European Union and America will invest. I believe the countries that helped us during the war will help us now. If Kosovo is to have growth, young people will find work and the financial situation of families in the villages and in the towns will improve."

May 2008
ESI

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4 May 2008, 00:00