No citizenship, no welfare and has nothing to live from


Because of not having documents in year 2008 the institutions canceled the welfare which amounted to 1000 denars. Since then she has been begging in front of the mosque in Shtip, and this winter she was warming herself by burning old shoes. At this point Fatime is captured in procedural vacuum space which does not have an exit, at least for now. The question still exist: How did the government give her state benefit when she didn’t have personal identification?


Weak, little old lady who looks like she is really cold because she has spent the winter in her little shed warming herself by burning old shoes found in the dumpsters in Shtip. That is 64 old Fatime Redzepova. She was born in Prishtina, she came in the town beneath the Isar 30 years ago because of the marriage with a macedonian citizen. Fatime does not have macedonian citizenship although she lives in the country for 30 years. From the personal documents she only has marriage certificate and health insurance card in which it is written that there is no basis for her health insurance. But at least she has blue coupons and can be treated with them. When we spoke to her she complained on pain in one ear. Then while speaking she also said that she feels pain in her legs, and she also has high blood pressure. She says that is because of nervousness. But at least with the blue coupons she can get medications. Those from the positive list. But for many of them one must also pay. She says at least 50 or 100 denars. Money that she doesn’t have. That’s why for years every Friday she begs in front of the mosque in Shtip. She does not use welfare. The institutions say that she does not have the basis for that. But until year 2008 those same institutions stated that she uses welfare. Around 1000 denars. From year 2008 not even those 1000 denars.

-I don’t feel well. I come to beg in cold and in hot weather. For the money. I live in a shed, I don’t even have bread, or a potato or cooking oil. No one helps me, not even my neighbors. The people who come in the mosque give me several denars, says Fatime with tears in her eyes.

Up until several months ago she ate in the national kitchen in that town. But because of the weak health and her age she couldn’t go every day to take her meal. And there was no one else to take it for her. According to the rules of the kitchen if someone doesn’t show up several times he loses the right to that kind of help. That’s how Fatime lost her one meal per day.

She is a mother of five children. But since her husband left her and went abroad, she had to worry about herself and her children. She didn’t have the opportunity to pay for their school. She has a daughter-in-law, sons-in-law and grandchildren.

– I don’t want to go to my daughter’s, nor to the other children. Although it is difficult for me this way I don’t want to bother them or vice versa. I have a son who is abroad. He said that he will send some money when I die. He has money for my funeral. But will I need it then?, asks Fatime

Every day she goes in the Center for social affairs in Shtip hoping that she will fulfill some basis for gaining welfare. The Center tries with all efforts to provide her with legal basis in order for Fatime to get some help. The chances for now are equal to zero. The Institution only gives her redundancy help from time to time.


What does the law for social protection say?

Article 15 from the Law defines that users of welfare are citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who have constant habitat in the Republic of Macedonia and foreigners who have regulated constant residence in Macedonia, according to the law. Fatime is not a citizen of the Republic of Macedonia, nor is she a foreigner with regulated residence. In order for her to be a foreigner with regulated residence she must have an allowance for temporary residence and identification card for foreigners issued by the Ministry of Interior affairs. In order to start those procedures she must start a procedure for getting the allowance for temporary residence which will provide her with original documents: birth certificate, citizenship for a foreign country, foreign passport with legal entrance in Macedonia, evidence for health insurance, evidence for habitat, evidence for livelihood, evidence for the basis on which a temporary sty is requested – marriage certificate, family relations etc.


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