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International Youth Day is observed annually on 12 August and in 2016 it was marked by UNHCR and the youth of a returnee community by learning how to make bread.

Peja/Peć, 12 August 2016 – UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, met with youth from Kosovo Roma, Kosovo Ashkali and Kosovo Egyptian community living in Nakëll/Naklo in Peja/Peć region to mark together the International Youth Day. Considering that Kosovo has high unemployment rate, in particular among young people, UNHCR’s initiative aimed to encourage the interest among the returnee youth in jobs available locally. That is why, we visited a bakery in Peja/Peć town to learn together how bread and pastries are made.

The youth living in Nakëll/Naklo had returned voluntarily to Kosovo with their families almost two years ago. They grew up in Montenegro as most of the returnee families from that area were displaced in Montenegro since 1999. Their decision to come back to Kosovo was based on hopes for a better future.

“We like the place but we need jobs”, said a boy who took part in our bread-baking activity. All children said that they need jobs to be able to support their families that live in a difficult economic situation.

Visari, Isufi, Maksuti, and other boys, hope to find a job that could make them feel useful and enable them to contribute to the society. The same said Alisa and Xhevahire, two girls who joined our visit in the bakery.

Bakers were enthusiastic to show to boys and girls the art of making bread, burek and other traditional flour products. They explained to them the baking stages and showed to them in practice how they are done. Kids were also able to shape on their own the dough portions for smaller breads.

Even though the temperature in the bakery was very high as the inside oven was releasing a powerful heat all the time, kids enjoyed their visit in the bakery and kept asking questions about the baker’s work. “I will make burek at home after I saw how it is done in the bakery”, said one them. “Now we can all help at home in making bread”, said another one.

Girls and boys also said that they had visited Peja/Peć on some rare occasions before but they never thought that they would have the opportunity to see how bakers work and to learn about this job.

At the end of our bread-baking activity, we also showed to our pupils a mill of Haxhi Zeka in Peja/Peć, which is one of the key tourist attractions in town. Although children heard about the mill before, it was the first time that they had an occasion to visit the site. This mill is a cultural monument dating back to the second half of the 19th century. The Haxhi Zeka Mill was the first mill built in Kosovo as in the past Peja/Peć region had the most advanced technology in this respect.

During our visit in the mill, children learnt on the importance of the mill for the entire Peja/Peć region and we were all amazed by the mill’s history.

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