News Archive 2020

Help mediators helping a Roma family become foster parents

28.02 2020

Help mediators, Diamond Pajazitaj and Ibrahim Tatari have been helping Ganamete Beganaj, a 42-year-old mother of two young adults, for two years already, to become a foster parent to a girl from the Home for children without parental care in Bijela.

Ms. Beganaj says that she couldn’t have any more children because of health problems, and that she has always wanted to have a daughter. She got the idea of becoming a foster parent from her two friends who had previously become foster parents for the children from Bijela and who are very happy, and so are the children.

“I have seen that the children of my friends got along well with their foster children, that there was no difference between them, so I wanted to become a foster parent too, because I always wanted a daughter, and my doctors were strongly against me becoming pregnant.”

Help’s mediators Dijamant and Ibrahim filed their first foster request in January 2018 on behalf of Ms. Beganaj. She says she is extremely grateful to them for helping her throughout the process, because she has only completed two grades of elementary school.

“I know how to read  and write, but I have only finished two grades of elementary school, and the procedure is not at all simple.”

She says that Ibrahim and Dijamant are not only helping with this, but also with whatever she asks of them. When she approached them and asked them if she could apply for a foster child, they first checked that she fulfiled all the legal requirements, and after that they went into the comprehensive procedure for collecting all the necessary documents for her to apply.

In order to collect the documentation they had to visit numerous institutions and obtain numerous certificates from the Primary and High Courts, physicians, and to collect basic personal documents from numerous registry offices also.

When the documents were collected, handed over to the Center for Social Work and confirmed valid, they were told that they will be contacted .

“They had first visited me one morning, suddenly without notice. I was a little exhausted because I hadn’t slept the night before because my spine hurt. I apologized to them and they said that it was not a problem, that they just wanted to see the situation on the ground. So they asked me if I lived there, looked around the apartment and took information about me and my family. They did not stay long, for five to ten minutes maybe. They told me that they were going to contact me, but they didn’t, “Beganaj says.

Since she has not received any feedback for more than six months after the visit, Dijamant and Ibrahim went to find out what was going on. After the verification, the Center for Social Work concluded that no one had taken over Ms. Beganaj’s case, and that the documents were now out of date.

The documents for these types of cases must not be more than six months old, which is why our mediators have re-started the process of collecting documentation in order to file a new request for Ganimete Beganaj.

Dijamant, who is Help’s mediator for social care and assistance, was more persistent this time and with more frequent inquiries for those in charge of Mrs. Beganaj’s case, he managed to put the case into the procedure.

His persistence paid off and the Beganaj family recently had a second visit from Center for Social Work officials who came to check the situation on the ground again.

Ms. Beganaj told them that everything was ready for the a new family member, towards whom everyone is looking forward to even though they have a small apartment.

“There are 38 square meters here in the apartment, but we have a room that is intended just for her. My older son has already left home, and so only the younger one and the two of us remain here. My husband has a regular income, and I also sell at the local market. When they arrived, I showed the room to them in order to assure them that everything was ready. I told them that I could buy a crib immediately if needed. They told me to wait and explained the procedures to me – in particular that the decision was first whether or not they will accept our request, and that if my husband and I accepted it we would need to finish the training necessary. I said that I was fully prepared to take care of her, that I could buy and provide everything necessary, and educate and raise her. I know it’s not easy, but I’m not afraid, I’ve already raised two children and everyone here is ready to help. I would do anything for her and make sure that she has everything the baby needs. ”

She is now eagerly awaiting the decision whether she can become a foster parent, filled with emotions of anxiety and hope.

When we first visited Ms Beganaj, who has been living in a social flat in Konik since 2005, her son was  with her and he also said that he had wanted to have a sister since forever, and that they are hoping for a new family member.

The Beganaj family looks forward to the continuation of the process, which should end with their family having a new youngest member to look after in the new future.

Asked about her child’s age preferences, Ganimete Beganaj said it is most important for her to finally get a girl that she had always wanted, but admits that she would prefer her to be as young as possible, so that after they raise her she would not leave them immidiately after becoming an adult, but instead stay with the family.

“It doesn’t matter that much, but it would be nice if she was younger… that she is two, three years old so that she understands that we had raised her and to remain with us forever.”

Asked if they might already have a name ready, if it were a baby, Ms. Beganaj said:

“Of course, that is ready like everything else is. She would be called after my grandmother, and after my mother – Ziza. ”

Our mediators Dijamant and Ibrahim continue to work on the mediation and the assistance of Ganimeti Beganaj in an attempt to help her become the foster parent for the girl from the Home for children without parental care in Bijela.

The Roma and Egyptian mediators’ programme is part of Help’s regional project “Support to socio-economic stability in the Western Balkans region 2019-2020” that is funded by the German Foreign Ministry.

Biljana Jovićević

Crnogorski Deutsch