She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.She says: “The children of Kosovo need to move away from the constant violence. We will do what it takes to bring peace to our communities. We are the future, and the future is in our hands”.
She says also: “I wanted peace because…I never had peace in my life. That’s why I said I wanted something, and most of the children there also wanted something, but they didn’t know what they wanted because they didn’t know what peace, tolerance, reconciliation, children’s rights were. You know, they didn’t know what that means for them”. (full text).
Fatmire Feka – Serbia
She works for ‘Kids for Peace’. In the internet you may find: Kids for Peace.com; KidsForPeace.org; KidsPeace.org; peace for kids.org; peace corps kids world; peace4kids; PeaceKids.com; teach kids peace; kids for peace camp; … etc.
Fatmire Feka (17) is a Muslim Albanian girl from an ethnically divided town. In 1999, she lost a brother and a sister in the war in Kosovo and her family’s house was set on fire. She is a member of her town’s Council for Peace and Tolerance.
Her family was temporarily relocated to a transit shelter for internally displaced people (IDPs), managed by the non-governmental organization (NGO) World Vision International, in the city of Mitrovica, where they lived for seven months.
Eleven years old at the time, Fatmire watched how the World Vision staff members were implementing a number of peace-building projects. One day she approached one of the staff and asked “How can I help you make peace in Kosovo?”
Since then, Fatmire has been eager to help in a number of peace-building projects. Her first effort was in the summer of 2001 when she participated in a series of workshops on Local Capacities for Peace. Her story, poems and her passion for peace were so inspiring that the workshop participants responded with a sincere and emotional pledge to help do what they could in order to bring peace to Kosovo.
She had conceived a program where kids from various ethnic groups in Kosovo could come together to share their war experiences and learn from each other. She wanted to “make friends with the others.” Soon, her idea developed into the Kids for Peace movement. The goal of the program is to positively impact the children of Kosovo by promoting peace and understanding among elementary school children.
The program currently has 14 clubs in five towns. In November 2002, Fatmire was selected as an Angel of Hope by World Vision Canada. She was chosen because she “brought hope to others and made a difference in her community.”
In the summer of 2003, Fatmire was invited to join the city of Mitrovica’s Council for Peace and Tolerance as the youth representative. This is a local NGO committed to doing away with all ethnic, religious or gender based prejudice and striving to promote mutual understanding by implementing community-based projects, including sports days, training on tolerance and peaceful coexistence and artistic programs.
Fatmire organized an artistic program promoting peace that was part of the city’s International Day of Peace celebrations in September 2004. Fatmire works closely with the Danish peacekeeper contingent in Mitrovica to organize various events for the children of Kosovo.
During the March 2004 violence in Kosovo, especially in Mitrovica, Fatmire mobilized her schoolmates and they marched through a number of villages to request “a peaceful response to the recent tragic events” that claimed the lives of three young boys. Fatmire made pleas through the local media and to the local youths to “stay calm” and not to “overreact.” Unfortunately, tensions later spilled into the streets across Kosovo and resulted in 19 deaths and over 500 injured.
In May 2004, Fatmire was invited as a delegate to speak during a session of the Global Movement for Children Conference at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona, Spain. This conference brought children together from all over the world to share their first-hand experiences and their views about child labor, conflict, disability, migration and HIV/AIDS.
This past summer (2005), Fatmire conceived and helped to organize a children’s peace builders summer camp. This camp brought together 28 children from Bosnia and Kosovo (Bosnian, Serbian and Albanian) for a summer Building Bridges of Peace Camp in a small village on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro. The camp consisted of workshops and games, introducing the young participants (11 to 17 years of age) to concepts of identity, tolerance, differences and similarities, peace education and strategic planning.
Fatmire was instrumental in putting all the pieces together in order to get this camp off the ground. She was able to convince a number of private donors from North America to support her initiative.
The Cleaning the Environment project was Fatmire’s initiative that came about as an outcome of the Building Bridges of Peace Camp. Fatmire was again able to mobilize over 300 children from across Kosovo for this one-day event, which was organized to clean up the garbage left around the countryside as a result of the recent war. She managed to convince the Danish peacekeeping contingent to provide support and protection for the event and raised all the financial support through private donations.
In August 2004, Fatmire was invited to speak at an International Conference organized by World Vision in Bucharest, Romania. This conference, which is held every three years, brings together the World Vision International Board of Directors Leadership, as well as senior staff members from all over the World. As the special guest, Fatmire was invited to take part in the World Vision International Council meetings and had the honor to address a few hundred delegates as she spoke on child protection issues and on the role of children as peace builders.
In October 2004, Fatmire was once again instrumental in organizing a multi-ethnic, inter-religious day for Serbian and Albanian children. On her own initiative she reunited some of the children who had participated in the Building Bridges of Peace Summer Camp and who lived in the City of Mitrovica (both Albanian and Serbian alike).
She made arrangements for the multi-ethnic group of 15 to visit the Decani Serbian Orthodox Monastery in southwestern Kosovo and the main mosque in the City of Mitrovica where Albanian Muslim and Serbian Orthodox religious leaders led discussions about the particulars of each faith tradition.
This event was not only outstanding for the children but it also brought together a handful of adults and parents who participated as chaperones. The children and adults all walked away from this trip with a new-found appreciation for each other’s cultural and religious heritage.
In December 2004, Fatmire was selected as the Youth Ambassador for the Eagle Down Foundation. This Canadian-based organization is a charitable foundation that seeks to support children in conflict zones around the globe with a vision and commitment to a more peaceful and prosperous world. Through the funding and implementation of peace education initiatives, summer camps and workshops, the Eagle Down Foundation encourages children to act as a symbol of unity in a world often divided by ethno-religious borders.
(2005): Fatmire is already helping to organize a Summer Peace Camp for Children in India. The camp, which will be held for children who live in segregated slums in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Mumbai will consist of group discussions, arts and craft, poster making, song writing, drama, and group projects.
These are the types of activities that helped her recover from the pain she suffered during the war in Kosovo, and she now wants to bring these activities to other children around the world who have suffered like her and her siblings. In her capacity as Youth Ambassador, Fatmire has also recently been invited to speak to a number of church and community groups in Canada in the summer of 2005.
In January 2005, Fatmire was nominated to participate as a delegate at the international consultations concerning the United Nations Declaration of 2000-2010 as the Decade to Overcome Violence for the Children of the Earth. These consultations were planned for August 2005 in Calabar, Nigeria.
At school, Fatmire continues to be a top student. In February 2005, her teachers and fellow students elected her president of her class. She was also recently asked to help organize and lead the training for a series of workshops dealing with the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse for her school.
Fatmire is a true inspiration for her young friends and for adults alike. She is energetic and tirelessly committed to her efforts to promote peace in a very difficult region of the world.
Fatmire continues to highlight the dignity, beauty and value that exist in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious world as she inspires others to do the same.
Her dream has always been to help create a world where children may live in safety, protected from the horrors of war. (1000PeaceWomen).