Kosovar Foundation for Civil Society (KCSF) has awarded the Democracy Award 2022 to two grassroots initiatives represented by two outstanding civil society activists, Mrs. Sebahate Hajdini – Beqiri and Mr. Lend Mustafa, for their extraordinary contribution to two different causes that have further democratized the Kosovar society.

Mrs. Sebahate Hajdini-Beqiri has been an activist for the Down Syndrome community in Kosovo, and she is the founder of Down Syndrome Kosovo. As a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, she has dedicated years to improving the general well-being of Down Syndrome individuals in Kosovo. In 2022, she successfully mobilized the Down Syndrome community in Gjilan and opened the first Down Syndrome center in the city.

Whereas Lend Mustafa, activist, and founder of the first queer pub in Kosovo – Bubble, has been engaged in citizens engagement since the age of 16 and his work has had such a significant impact on the LGBTIQ+ community in Kosovo. In 2022, Lendi opened the first queer pub in Kosovo – Bubble, which has provided a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTIQ+ community, free from harassment, prejudice thus becoming a crucial resource for the community, providing access to support and resources that were previously unavailable.

During the award ceremony, Mr. Taulant Hoxha, Executive Director of KCSF,  emphasized that despite the great challenges faced by the civil society sector in Kosovo in 2022 there have been positive developments in expanding the field of engagement of the entire civil society sector.

“Today, we are gathered here to celebrate the Democracy Award 2022, honoring two outstanding initiatives and the entire community’s commitment to citizen engagement. We recognize and celebrate the civic sector’s resilience and determination in overcoming challenges and transforming them into opportunities. The Democracy Award highlights just a few of the countless extraordinary initiatives that have taken place over the past year,” stated Hoxha, among other remarks.Mrs. Katharina Stocker, the head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Kosovo, commended Mrs. Hajdini – Beqiri for her activism and unwavering commitment to enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome in Kosovo, as she presented her with the award.Additionally, Mrs. Nasrin Pourghazian, head of the Swedish Agency for Development and International Cooperation in Kosovo, after giving the award to Mr. Lend Mustafa emphasized that for Sweden support to LGBTQI+ is very relevant and one of the top prioritized areas when it comes to development cooperation and human rights. “It’s one of the most challenging fields – a field with challenges and risks for all people involved. The people like Lend and his friends– they struggle and meet threats, violence, discrimination in many ways. Great courage is a core, and it is very impressive to see how this has been proved by Lend” she added.

Mrs. Sebahate Hajdini – Beqiri, the recipient  of the Democracy Award 2022 highlighted the significance of the award  in acknowledging the cause she leads that has sensitized many citizens and institutions. This  cause has an inspiring history, with a challenging present but with many plans in the future to further improve the well-being of people with Down syndrome.


Meanwhile Mr. Yll Rrahmani, who accepted the award on behalf  Lend Mustafa, conveyed Lend’s message that the Democracy Award 2022 belongs to all those who are brave enough to make Bubble a second home. Their presence in a queer public space is transformative in the queer movement in Kosovo.

Democracy Award 2022 is a traditional award that aims to recognize the contributions of individuals, non – formal initiatives and non-governmental organizations in various fields, that comes as a result of community mobilization, citizens engagement, intellectual courage, and highlighted achievements. Additionally, this award aims to acknowledge entities that through their work and dedication have contributed to the democratization of the Kosovar society.

The Democracy Award is part of EJA Kosovo program, a KCSF program to support civil society that is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Sweden.