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Balkan family in New York opens home to 30 Kosovo refugees

These Kosovo children have found comfort and security in a place far from home  
woman hugs child
Eva Shakiri is generous with her home and her love
Talks on Yugoslav troop withdrawal suspended until Sunday

June 5, 1999
Web posted at: 10:16 p.m. EDT (0216 GMT)

From Reporter Deborah Feyerick

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Remembering the kindness her family received decades ago when they left the Balkans for the United States, Eva Shakiri has returned the favor by opening her home to refugees from Kosovo -- 30 of them.

Shakiri was 9 years old when her family left Macedonia for Brooklyn, New York. "My father had a rough time in the beginning," she said, adding that he later met up with some good friends who helped him and the family out, "which was great."

Her husband Ibish recently learned his Kosovar Albanian relatives were in trouble, prompting the couple to take in six families, comprised mostly of children.

"When it comes to my family, she will do anything," Ibish Shakiri said of his wife.

The relatives arrived in May with only the clothes on their backs and plenty of painful memories.

"The children don't want their mothers and fathers to go away. The first three nights they didn't go in the next room by themselves," Eva Shakiri said.

The Shakiris canceled a Caribbean vacation, using the money instead to buy clothing, blankets and food for the refugees, who began looking for long-term housing after 10 days

"We buy four, five gallons of milk a day, seven or eight gallons of juice, a lot of water and food," Ibish Shakiri said.

The generosity amazes case workers and neighbors.

"Eva has taken over so many things, I have never seen any family do (so much) for their relatives," said Renate Brand of the New York Association for New Americans.

"I've never seen her upset. I've never seen her complain. She just keeps buying food," said neighbor Carol Perri DeSimone.

Coworkers and others have helped with donations as word has spread through the community about the refugees.

But the work of the Shakiris is far from finished. They expect eight more relatives to arrive within the week.

NATO: Bombing of Yugoslavia could end by Sunday
June 4, 1999
Hopes for Yugoslav peace tempered by new raids
June 4, 1999
NATO, Yugoslav army make contact to discuss troop withdrawal
June 4, 1999
Chernomyrdin's peace efforts criticized by some Russians
June 3, 1999
Yugoslavia accepts peace deal on Kosovo
June 3, 1999
Peace talks with Milosevic to resume Thursday
June 2, 1999

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
  • Church World Service
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  • Iowa Department of Human Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • United States Catholic Conference

  • World Relief
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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