Interview: Mr. Veton Kastrati (24) from Kosovo
Kanato Matsumoto (16 ), CE youth reporter, participated in the 10th International Youth Media Summit in Belgrade, Serbia, from July 27th through August 6th, 2015. He joined one of the seven issue groups, Poverty, of which Veton Kastrati was the advisor. This was Kanato’s first time to meet and talk to a young man from Kosovo.
Q. Could you give me a brief explanation about your country, Kosovo?
Kosovo is the newest country in Europe. We became independent in 2008 by help from USA and EU because we were occupied by Ottomans and Serbia for 600 years. Kosovo is in the middle of the Balkans surrounded by Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia. It is a small country. The population is around 2 million. The capital is Pristina. There are a lot of old cities, but I live in Malisheva city. Our country has very old traditions of clothing, music and food.
Q. What kind of work do you do?
I work as an English teacher in primary school, Ibrahim Mazreku, and I am the founder of an NGO called Values for Better Future. We do a lot of activities for children, students and youth. Our aim is on education, culture, media and art. We try to help young people to find young talents and we work with them making short movies, and news for WADADA NEWS FOR KIDS.
Q. Why did you choose that job?
Because English is spreading fast in Kosovo but we don’t have enough English teachers. At first,it was the best way to get a job. After that I will be able to contact with people from international organizations, summits and festivals.
I started my work as an English teacher when I was 19 years old. My father was also an English teacher and he helped me. There are not enough teachers in my city, so for me, it was easy to get this job.
I made the first movie in my city. It was called “ The Dreamers” about children who have dreams and they want to do something but they can’t. Therefore I made it to express their talent. We participated in festival film Prix Jeunesse International with students from the Ibrahim Mazreku school. I was motivated so I started another project which is called “Kosovo’s Children Government.” We had great success in Kosovo with this movie. Last one is “No hands, no problems” about a boy who was born without hands. I am very happy to work as a teacher because I have motivated a lot of students to love the English language, media and international relationships even more. This was evaluated from relevant institutions and they have announced that I was one of the most active teachers in Malisheva for 2014-2015.
Q. Why did you participate in this summit?
I participated in this summit to meet new people and to show my work. It is very important to show my work to delegates from 30 countries from different kinds of cultures, backgrounds and educational levels. It was a very great experience. I would like to thank Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kosovo for supporting me to come to this summit.
Q. What did you learn through the summit?
I got a lot of experiences and could learn about different kind of educational backgrounds, cultural backgrounds and traditions. But what is more important is to learn how to make better movies in the future.
Q. Why did you choose the “Poverty” group?
I was most affected by the Poverty group because we are still suffering from poverty in Kosovo. I try to share my experience of poverty.
It is good to help poor people because for them it is hard to live in bad conditions. Still today there are a lot of children who do not have the opportunity to be educated. They need more help from others. In Kosovo, we have a lot of poor people because we were damaged by war. We are trying to make their lives and their futures better.
Q. What are the problems about poverty in Kosovo?
We are a new country. We became independent in 2008 and there are a lot of people who misused the budget of our nation. They don’t invest into the right places. I think they made business by spending the money of Kosovo. They don’t send the money to the right place so it can be invested in factories and employees to raise their business.
Q. What do you think of the solution to end poverty?
It is very hard to solve this problem because it is a global issue. We should work as a team to protect each other and to give more space to people who are not able to create possibilities for themselves. I think the government is one of the most important elements that can solve this problem by investing money in the right places that would create more job opportunities for the youth. They need to manage the youth population who are growing and who are not satisfied. They are trying to leave Kosovo. The government should do more but I, as an individual, can do things to help as one of citizens or teachers. I can help educate poor children.
Q. How does the government get money?
We have 2 million people but the government gets money only from taxes and small industries of Kosovo. Now, in Kosovo is the time to open more factories and empower the youth.
Q. Are there any industries?
There are a small number of industries and businesses . We don’t have any huge industries such as ships, trade, airplane, technology. We only have small businesses. We produce our own electricity and agriculture.
Q. Do you receive enough support from other countries ?
Yes, the EU and the US invested a lot. There are more than 5 hundred thousand people who work abroad but we need more businesses as every country has. We have to establish businesses from a strong economic perspective.
Q. Do you have any problems in education?
In the past, there were some problems but after the war, we have more interest for school and every child has access to education. To attend universities it is not too expensive . You have to pay only 100 Euro for annual college tuition. A lot of young women are going to school to be educated by themselves in order to create better families and to find good jobs in the future. There were no women who went to university before, but now the possibility is there for both genders to attend university.
Q. Do you think that one of the reasons everyone is not going to university is poverty?
Yes, even if they are good students, if they are poor, the parents can’t support them. They just get married or leave Kosovo for a better life somewhere else.
Q. Is Kosovo going better in 7 years ?
Yes, it is going to be better but we are still facing some problems because in Kosovo, most of the population is young people. The average age is 30 years old and the young people are going to go abroad to find a better job or a better life. This situation is not being managed. Last year, there were 2 hundred thousand young people who left Kosovo to live in Germany, Austria and Italy. This is the worst situation after the war in my country.
Q. How Japanese people can support your country?
I don’t know because I don’t know your possibility. Maybe you can support the youth and schools. You can bring things you don’t use anymore such as technology or equipments. Even if we are far from Japan we can find other good solutions in the future because Japan has supported Kosovo’s institutions very much such as by bringing in medicine, new technology, philanthropy, instruments, and vehicles to clean the cities. We are very thankful for that and always expect good news from Japan, who is a model of future citizenship and inventions.