Teuta worked hard ever since she was a little girl. Being an independent woman who wanted to make a change in her community, she decided to pursue a career in education. For 30 years now, she has worked as a teacher in Gjakova.
Teuta continued to work after she was married, unlike many women of her generation who chose to leave their jobs. She became the sole breadwinner in the 1990’s after her husband was laid off and continued to support her family for the next two decades. She paid the bills and invested in the family house, but she never felt entitled to ask her husband to register their house as a shared property, fearing her community or family would judge her.
One day she came across an event that a women’s group had organized in her town to raise awareness about property rights. Teuta noted that Femrat Aktive të Gjakovës (FAGj),a member organization of the Kosovo Women’s Network, gave her the courage she lacked her whole life. “Suddenly I felt I needed to raise my voice for what is mine, and I decided, I don’t care what others think, I’m going to talk to my husband about our house,” said Teuta.
They filed a request to register their property in the name of the both spouses which is now in its final phase. Thinking back about her case, Teuta says she feels frustrated no one had ever talked to her about her rights. Maybe if they had, she would have started the process sooner.
“I will never make the same mistake with my two sons and their wives,” she promises. “I will talk to all of them, make sure they exercise their rights granted by law, as I am doing now after 25 years.”
Teuta is one of the 15 womenFAGJhelped reclaim their rights to property and inheritance since January 2017. In total, 150 women have received legal help about their property from the Kosovo Women’s Network, which began its efforts in May 2016 with funding by PPSE Swiss Contact.