Chachacha was born in Pristina, Kosovo in the 1970s. He was a child living in the mountains of Kosovo and was forced to abandon his homeland to escape the Yugoslav civil war. He then moved to Austria, where he came to the attention of the Austrian government who wanted him to join them in fighting against the Yugoslav communists.
In 1982, Chacha was able to escape the Yugoslavs and travelled to Austria. He was a student at the University of Vienna, during that time he became a human rights activist. In 1986, when Chacha returned to Kosovo, he continued to work in the fields of political and social change.
Chacha’s wife, Karima, and the child, Karim, were also granted refugee status in Austria. Chacha’s family lived in various parts of Austria, and later moved south into Germany on a refugee-resettlement programme. Since then, Chacha’s family has lived in Germany, in Vienna and in Kitzbühel. Chacha and his family moved to Austria after the EU-Kosovo Agreement in 2004, so that Chacha could be one of the refugees granted residency rights due to the EU-Kosovo Agreement.
Chacha was originally based in Austria while working with the Human Rights Watch and he was later granted citizenship. Nowadays, Chacha lives and works in Vienna, where he lives with Karima and with his family in the Chacha-Lakas family home. “My wife Karima works as a journalist. She has a very good job. She has given the house to the Chacha Family which, at the time of the war, was located in the outskirts of Vienna. I help for another five years. The day we arrived here in Austria, my wife was pregnant. But we lost that home too, because the Germans decided they were tired of the refugees and they stopped allowing them to stay. Chacha is now living with Karima, and there is only one chair and a room for him and his family; he needs an extra room with a mattress on it; and there are three bunk beds in this room in the main room. We don’t even have a closet or even a floor for him.”
A life in Europe
For Chacha, it is a new existence. “I am in my fourth year of being a real asylum seeker. I started working in Austria after the deal with the EU-Kosovo Agreement, so that I could get permanent residency here.
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