20 Nov 2018

The hard life of Roma child beggars in Kosovo 

Many Roma families  who have moved to Kosovo from neighboring Albania are struggling to survive and scratching out a living on the streets of Kosovo towns. In the effort to help their families survive, children and teenagers help out by begging. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
The hard life of Roma child beggars in Kosovo  - NewsMavens
Child, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

It is not difficult to imagine how cruel and tough the childhood of children and teenagers beggars is. Their parents and guardians, who often don't have plenty of options to earn money for their survival, force children into begging, thus separating them from the kind of growing-up experiences one gains through school and play. 

Yet, when we see child beggars approaching us with their hands outstretched in hope of getting a coin or two, many of us turn our backs on them. 

"In Albania, nobody has ever asked me if I need help to raise my children and I don’t know any other way how to do so. But I still dream that one day they will be able to attend school," a mother, whose children beg in the streets of Kosovo towns, told Prishtina Insight

The blame for it lies not only with families, nor the system alone. It requires a change in the perception of Roma communities along with social inclusion and the creation of new opportunities for them. Only the holistic approach can bring long-lasting improvements. 

Details from the story:

  • The Roma community is the poorest and the most stigmatized social group in Albania.
  • Begging is one of the regular activities that brings income to many Roma families in Albania and the region. 
  • Kosovo police have identified 140 citizens of Albania begging in Kosovo in the first nine months of 2018. It is estimated that at least 85 of them are children, Prishtina Insight reported. 
  • Children and teenagers who are being forced to beg are at risk of social exclusion, health incidents, abuse, violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and kidnapping, or involvement in pornography and prostitution. 
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