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  • Yllka Soba together with Kvinna till Kvinna's Goodwill Ambassador Linnéa Claeson when they ran the Gjakova Highland Marathon in Kosovo. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha.

    Yllka Soba together with Kvinna till Kvinna’s Goodwill Ambassador Linnéa Claeson when they ran the Gjakova Highland Marathon in Kosovo. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha.

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Running for Women’s Rights and Empowerment

In June, our colleague Yllka Soba from Kosovo ran the “Stockholm Marathon” to celebrate Kvinna till Kvinna’s 25th Anniversary, and to celebrate a personal anniversary – 15 years with Kvinna till Kvinna. “As a woman who has survived the war in Kosovo, I want to celebrate being alive! And I want to show the world the important work that Kvinna till Kvinna does!”, she says. Read her story about running for women’s rights.

This year while Kvinna till Kvinna marks its 25th Anniversary I celebrate a personal anniversary – 15 years with Kvinna till Kvinna. I feel very proud to have been part of Kvinna till Kvinna family for this long and thus, by coming all the way from Kosovo to run the Stockholm Marathon, I wanted to show my appreciation not as much through words but through action and movement.

Acting upon and moving things forward have been at the core of Kvinna till Kvinna’s work. So, by choosing the Stockholm marathon as a medium, I want to send my message of appreciation across Sweden and across the world for Kvinna till Kvinna’s work in Kosovo, in the Western Balkan and in other war-affected areas in the world where Kvinna till Kvinna supports women.

Back in 1998-1999, many women in Kosovo were also running. But that was another type of run – running from bullets, running to survive, running to cross borders, running to find a safer place. And thanks to the solidarity of Swedish women, they found a safer place at Kvinna till Kvinna, the organisation who gave those women hope that better days will come. And indeed, they came.

Us, women of Kosovo after the end of war in June 1999, we were able to return home, to rebuild our lives, to rebuild our country.

Since then, Kvinna till Kvinna has never stopped supporting women’s organising, and together with our partner organisations we have contributed to important developments regarding women’s rights and gender equality in Kosovo.

We have empowered women to build sustainable women’s organisations and women’s movement to fight inequalities and bring peace among people in divided societies.

And so strongly have I felt that empowerment in my skin, while running the last metres of the Stockholm marathon on last Saturday. Entering the Olympic Stadium of Stockholm, I felt like an Olympic athlete. My heart grew as big as that stadium, and I felt I was holding all the women supported by Kvinna till Kvinna in Kosovo, and together sending our love and appreciation to the audience who were cheering us up, to each taxpayer for the contribution through Swedish Government funding and to Kvinna till Kvinna for its continuous commitment to women’s empowerment and peace building.

TACK Sverige, TACK Kvinna till Kvinna

Your support is appreciated – your work very much needed!

Yllka Soba, 7 June 2018

Updated in: 2018-07-09