Members of the KFOR 13, Multinational Battle Group East, Liaison Monitoring Team, met with more than 40 local children during a Summer camp program in Strpce/Shterpce, July 20.
The program, hosted by Strong Start, a non-governmental organization in Kosovo, offered the Soldiers of LMT 7, who arrived in Kosovo only two weeks ago, their first chance to interact with the youth of their sector.
"This is the new face of KFOR in Strpce," said 2nd Lt. Suehaine Cancel, officer in charge, LMT 7. "We are more than glad to be sharing this moment with all of you," Cancel told the camp participants.
Cancel, a Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, resident, and her Soldiers, took the opportunity to spend time with the Kosovo children, while also handing out various school supplies and engaging in several activities with the youngsters.
"We love to participate in all of these activities," said Cancel, "especially with the kids. They are the future of Kosovo."
Soldiers participated in various activities with the children, including soccer, volleyball, board games and more. During the course of the five-day camp, children are offered various activities, ranging from language lessons, singing and dancing, athletic competitions and more.
The children participating in the camp are from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, which is by design for the event organizers.
"We try to get all the communities in one place," said Mirlinda Sylejmani, assistant supervisor for the camp. "We select kids from multiple ethnicities ... so they see that they can live and work together if they want to."
The 42 registered participants (up from 28 for the same event in 2009) are comprised of children ranging in age from nine to 16 years, and includes Kosovo-Albanians, Kosovo-Serbians, Turkish, Roma and Ashkali children from all over Eastern Kosovo.
"This is important for the better future of Kosovo," said Ivica Samardzic, executive director of the camp program.
Samardzic and Sylejmani do not work together by coincidence; each worked as a translator with KFOR during multiple rotations and got back together to work with the Strong Start program.
"We are a good example for the kids," said Sylejmani. "We worked together before and came together for another project. We want to show them that anything is possible."
Sylejmani, a Kosovo-Albanian, and Samardzic, a Kosovo-Serbian, are an example of what the Strong Start program is trying to promote; multi-ethnic cooperation and friendship that can ensure continued success in the building of a strong future for all the people in Kosovo.
"This is a good start," said Cancel. "Let's all contribute to this giant step in the build-up of the multi-ethnic society and a better future for everybody, especially for Kosovo. The future of Kosovo is in these kids' hands."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16