On the last day of our trip, we went to Mitrovica. I was impressed with the difference between Mitrovica and the rest of Kosovo. Mitrovica is a city in northern Kosovo; it is not very developed and still bears some signs from the war. The Iber river divides the Serbian and Albanian sides, so when we reached the city centre by the river we had to change buses on the Albanian side in order to get to the Serbian side of the city. Personally, it was the first time I felt and was able to understand the clash between Serbs and Albanians in the country.
The streets in northern Mitrovica were small and, because it was a holiday, quite full of people and cars. At first sight there seem to be no traffic rules; you don’t need a licence to drive and you don’t see licence plates that identify cars.
After a winding drive, we reached Handikos community-based rehabilitation centre. The centre was founded in 2003 by Miriana Spiric. Miriana started working in the centre with just an assistant. The first facility was a container, and they used that space for three years. As a volunteer myself, I felt very inspired and touched by Miriana’s story and her determination to work towards promoting and realising the rights of children with special needs.
Today she is in charge of managing the centre that receives 50 children every day. The centre is very well equipped, clean and comfortable. They are focused on the rehabilitation of disabled people and work mainly in three areas: children’s concentration, communication and physical coordination. They have two big rooms with didactic toys with two interns who just finished university in rehabilitation, social assistance and language therapy. They also have a mini gymnasium with a physiotherapist to work on the physical rehabilitation of the kids.
Miriana is a great communicator, full of energy and motivation and we will follow and make sure she can have the tools to continue her project and the other 50 children’s projects. That’s why after our visit we discussed this situation with Save the Children and they assured us that they will continue to look for ways to support Miriana and her team in the work they’re doing.