Years of inter-ethnic violence have severely impeded the welfare of Kosovo’s people. Nearly 1 million people fled Kosovo when war broke out in 1996. When these refugees returned, they found their homes, their schools and their livelihoods destroyed, and their communities were littered with dangerous land mines. Fifty-seven percent of the workforce was unemployed in 2001.
Significant progress has been made at repairing the devastating damage caused by the war. The unemployment rate has dropped to 31%—still extremely high. The people of Kosovo continue to suffer from severe lingering poverty.
Islamic Relief has played a major role in the postwar reconstruction and rehabilitation effort in Kosovo, and has been working in the area since 1999. The Islamic Relief Kosovo office later opened in the capital city of Pristina.