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Jun 23, 2020

Slowly starting up again after lockdown

A student from the tailoring course
A student from the tailoring course

No doubt that this year turned out a little different as expected, every single person in the world will probably agree with me.

Due to the pandemic the government of Kosovo decided to close all schools for indefinite time, since the vocational skills project is focused on these same students we decided to follow the schools in this decision. For a few months the project has been closed while the country was in lockdown. By now things are getting back to normal. Students who are graduating from middle school this year went back to school to prepare for their exams and so we decided to give these students the opportunity to finish their course before the summer. Students from lower grades will have this opportunity in the months September and October.

This way we opened the trainings centre for a small group of participants, making distancing measures possible to maintain. One of the advantages of these small groups is that we see a lot of creativity from trainers and students in ways to finish the course and the most important parts of the curriculum. Faton is the only boy that if finishing the berber course before the summer. Being an excellent student, his trainer who is also a small business owner, didn’t doubt for a second and invited Faton to do an internship at his berber shop. This way Faton will get some work experience at a berber shop, while he can cut his friends’ hair under supervision of his trainer. His mom had already told us how her hallway turned into a salon during lockdown, while the normal salons were closed Faton was making sure his family members were getting haircuts anyway.

Feb 24, 2020

A little extra attention

The girls organized a new years party!
The girls organized a new years party!

Uptill so far we have been having a positive year in the program, the trainers are happy with their students. Due to a change in the age of students we accepted, the classes are slightly smaller this year and the trainers have been positive about the extra attention they can give their students.

A little extra attention is making a difference in Sumea's life

We got to know Sumea when we were visiting families in October to see the students who wanted to join in the vocational project this year. Sumea is a thirteen year old girl raised by a single mom with a difficult background and her teacher had told us she was skipping school a lot. Her mom would let Sumea go to the busstation to sell cigarettes lighters instead of motivating her to school. We knew when she started the creativity course in November that there was a high risk of her dropping out of school and/or the program. The vocational training centre offers the courses as a extracurricular activity and to participate it is a requirement to go to school.

Sumea's trainer has been keeping on eye on her and has been motivating her to make the most out of the chances given to her. She has been having trouble with reading and writing in school so she now participates in the extra literacy lessons that we offer for the students that need it. As mentioned before Sumea isn’t growing up in a safe and stable home. Our psychologist has been talking to Sumea as well as her mom about the problems they are facing and the decisions they make. Even though we don’t know how Sumea’s future will look like we hope that this year is helping her to set of in a positive direction and climb out of the downward spiral she and her mom where in.

New years is a very important holiday here in Kosovo and the girls, together with their trainers, organized a party where they showed of their cooking and decorating skills learned in the course (see picture).

Dec 2, 2019

Closing down but it's not the end...

Thank you so much for all of your support of our women's center! For over six years, it has been the privilege of the staff team to serve some of the most vulnerable famiies in Kosovo as we have supported them to rebuild their lives and their futures after surviving violence or trafficking.

This autumn, our board and leadership team took the difficult decision to close down the center. We have seen amazing, successful transformation in the lives of many families, for which we are so thankful. However, we noticed a drop in the number of new families being referred to us from the Social Services, and after a full evaluation we learned that the law and the situation in Kosovo has changed for many reasons. For example, the emergency shelters now legally have to offer rehabilitation and reintegration programs similar to ours. We feel that it is the right time for a new chapter for our organisation. However, we will also continue to support the people we have been working with, offering psychotherapy, schooling and financial support for the first six months of their independence.

As an organisation, we will now be able to focus even more on our other project, teaching vocational skills to around 70 teenagers from difficult backgrounds who are at risk of violence. We offer training in welding, electrics, barbering, tailoring, decoration and cooking, as well as discussion groups, schooling support and family psychotherapy sessions. The transformation we see in the kids over the course is amazing!!

Thank you again for supporting our women's center. We could not have done our work without our amazing supporters! Would you now consider supporting our Vocations for the Future project? 

Have a wonderful holiday season!

From the staff and board of Operacioni i Mëkembjes

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