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“Our objective is to find a solution for everyone”

Ein Mann hält eine Broschüre in der Hand und erklärt etwas.
Nexhmedin Basha in conversation

“Our objective is to find a solution for everyone”

Many people who return to Kosovo after spending a long time abroad might have experienced different trauma. Others find it difficult to get a job in Kosovo – and this can also have a negative impact on their mental health. The German Information Centre for Migration, Vocational Training and Career (DIMAK Kosovo) in Pristina therefore provides psychosocial support for both returnees and locals. “These people have shows/brings different problems – and our objective is to find a solution for everyone”, says Nexhmedin Basha, a reintegration advisor at DIMAK. He has a master's degree in psychology, with a focus on psychosocial counseling and career guidance. In an interview, he tells us how the counselling service works.

Mr Basha, what type of psychosocial support does DIMAK provide and who can benefit from it?
We give advice to returnees and locals population when there are changes going on in their lives or when they’re making a new start. Our experience tells us that almost all returnees find it difficult to re-establish themselves in their home country. Many of them have social issues or economic difficulties. Their children often don't settle in easily either, whether at school or kindergarten. We help people in various ways, with placement services, psychosocial counselling and vocational assistance. We offer psychosocial support in the form of individual conversations as well as group conversations with the whole family. Anything said in these conversations is of course treated confidentially.

Do people have to pay for your psychosocial counselling?
All of the services offered by DIMAK are free of charge. Depending on the need, we also refer people to Kosovar institutions that offer longer-term therapeutic support. In these cases, we make sure that these organisations also offer their advice free of charge.

How long does psychosocial care last and how does it work?
Care can vary between a few weeks to  six months, depending on the case. The length and frequency of our conversations are also different. The process is relatively similar though: people first tell me about their experiences and feelings. At the first meeting, counseling is focused on the person's/family circumstances. I ask the following questions, among others: "What did you experience before and after you came back home?" "Is there anything that’s making your situation worse?" "What are your biggest personal challenges?", and I gain an initial overview based on the person's answers. This enables me to offer the best possible support to those affected. These conversations mostly take place once or twice a week, depending on the individual’s emotional state.

Can you give an example from your counselling?
I remember one woman who had some major difficulties shortly after returning to Kosovo. Her life was complicated when she came to us. She and her daughters had returned from Germany but her husband had stayed there.

Ein Mann steht vor einem Whiteboard, auf das jemand „Stresssymptome“ geschrieben hat.
Basha is working together with his client to find ways out of the personal crisis.

This single mother and her children were not welcomed by their own family or by her husband's family – so they had to live in a stable. Even in our first session the woman showed signs of great stress and uncertainty. She was afraid for her life and the future of her children. It was clear that she would benefit from psychosocial support.

How did you go about this?
At first I provided psychological “first aid”. We jointly considered the woman’s stress symptoms and concentrated on reducing the psychological strain and stabilising the woman’s mental state. An important prerequisite for this was organising accommodation. Then we worked out her strengths and skills via discussions. After that, we started looking for a job for her a few months later once she felt better. Our aim was to turn her passion for cooking into her new career. Through our referral and with our help, this woman successfully applied for a cooking course in a vocational training centre. In the meantime, she has found a position as a cook in a restaurant. She and her children now have a future and a home in Kosovo.

As of: 06/2021

Our experience tells us that almost all returnees find it difficult to re-establish themselves in their home country.
Nexhmedin Basha