Having lived in Quebec since November 2, 2010, 41-year old Blerim Skoro had a “journey” that was far from ordinary. A native of Kosovo of the former Yugoslavia, Blerim was studying medicine. At age 19, he was forced to join military service. When war broke out with Croatia, Blerim deserted the army. Caught and placed in a military prison, he was sent back to fight in the war a little later. Once again, he tried to escape, this time with success.
He made it to Switzerland where he was granted refugee status from the US Embassy. He lived in Brooklyn (New York) for about 15 years where he met his wife Susan and became the father of two girls. Then Blerim felt he needed to return to his native country. He saw that corruption was everywhere in Kosovo. He finally chose to settle in Quebec – in LaSalle. He feels a sense of fulfillment, especially as his wife and two kids Medina (13 years old) and Dafina (12 years old), should be joining him soon by Christmas.
“I went back to Kosovo in 2008 and I realised I wouldn’t have a future in this country because there was too much corruption. I chose to live in Quebec – Canada – because of its respect for human rights. I live on Baxter Street and I intend to live here for a very long time with my family.”
How would he compare Montreal and New York? “I feel 100% safer in Montreal than in New York. I can’t wait for my dream to come true – that of becoming a Canadian citizen.”Army deserter
Blerim Skoro’s youth was turned upside down when the war started. “We (Albanians) lost our rights and our schools. I was studying to become a doctor. But at 19, I was forced to join the army. I did not want to be take part in war and I took a chance and escaped from the army. I managed to make it to Switzerland where I received political refugee status from the US Embassy.”Life in Brooklyn
Blerim Skoro settled in Brooklyn for about 15 years, between 1994 and 2008. “My two daughters were born in New York. My wife is of Albanian origin but was born in the United States. My parents live in the States, just like my two brothers and sister.”Owner of his business
Blerim Skoro speaks several languages. “I can communicate in six different languages: English, French, Albanian, German, Turkish and a bit of Russian. I love talking to people.”
Since October 6, Blerim Skoro has been the owner of his own business, the 1 LOTI car wash, located at 8969 Airlie Street. “Quebec, and Montreal allowed me to set up my own business. I called it “1 Loti” because in Albanian, Loti means “one tear”. The name reminds me of what I went through in Kosovo. I cried a lot of tears before having a happy life in Montreal. I have five employees. I work seven days a week. I’m really proud of my new life!”