A refugee, according to the United Nation’s definition (as cited in matthewhouse.ca, 2012), is “a person outside his or her country of origin who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” The current number of refugees around the world is 43.7 million, as estimated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Being a refugee is not a choice – they are forced to leave their country of origin to avoid conflicts that could potentially be disastrous, traumatic, or even lead to their death. They begin a long journey of danger and uncertainty on the refugee ...view middle of the document...
A Glimpse of the Kosovar Life
Nurses are responsible for identifying general information needed in assessing their family’s health problems, including its causes and consequences. The actions and interventions employed by the nurse must be based on facts and one way of delivering accurate and relevant care is to have background knowledge of the family’s culture, beliefs, education and lifestyle. Gathering historical backdrop of the refugee’s culture and tradition raises self-awareness and promotes consistency in developing appropriate questions during health assessment.
History. Kosovo was an independent federal unit of Yugoslavia until the Serbian government stripped away the basic rights of the Albanians (Kosovars) in 1989 and suspended the Kosovo parliament. Initially, the Kosovars responded with peaceful and passive resistance in 1992 and continued to hold elections, chose their leaders, and utilizes the Albanian language, education, and health care. Peaceful attempts were ineffective and in 1998, the Serbian (former Yugoslavian) government began a campaign of violence (“ethnic cleansing”) against civilians, including women and children, causing over a quarter of a million Kosovars to flee the country (Bongers, Laisure, & Mackling, n. d.).
Culture and Social Structure. Extended family is very important to Kosovars. They do not have nursing homes and tend to take care of their own. If the family cannot take care of the elderly or children, neighbors help. Women are considered by men as equals and often function as decision makers. Many of the people live in villages among the mountains. Each village has a unique style and color concerning dress. The men of the villages wear beige hats. These hats are tradition for Albanians and this distinguishes them from other ethnic groups. Many urban Kosovars are educated at the University of Pristina located in the capital of Kosovo (Bongers et. al., n.d.).
Language. The Albanian language is one of the original nine Indo-European languages and is not derived from any other language. About 90% of the inhabitants of the Adriatic Coast, primarily in Kosovo and Macedonia, speak Albanian. The official Albanian language, adopted in 1909 was written in a standard Roman orthography and based on the Gheg dialect. Since 1974, citizens of Kosovo and Macedonia speak varieties of eastern Gheg (Bongers, et al., n.d.).
Religion. There is a mixture of religions in Kosovo, especially Islam, Orthodox, and Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism was the first religion of Kosovo, but many Kosovar refugees are Sunni Muslims. There is not a strong conservative or radical Muslim movement in Kosovo as there is in the Middle East (Bongers, et al., n.d.).
Health Care Practices and Beliefs. Male circumcision is strongly encouraged, but not forced. It is believed to be only a procedure for cleanliness. Female genital cutting or “circumcision” is not a practice and is condemned on an Islamic basis. The younger generation...