Get a Kosovan Kid to School

by The Ideas Partnership
Get a Kosovan Kid to School
Get a Kosovan Kid to School
Get a Kosovan Kid to School
Get a Kosovan Kid to School
Shkurta in front of her house
Shkurta in front of her house

The light blue colored door lined with white walls can be seen instantly as you first enter the neighborhood. It is a cold bloomy day this February morning, but Muhamet, the only boy of the Buzolli family, is playing in the small yard of his house together with the daughter of his older sister. She is only 6 months old and they call her Ariana. He is a lively 10-year-old boy taller than the majority of his peers. Welcoming us wholeheartedly, he invites us to meet his mother, Vahide, and his two sisters, Nerxhivane and Shkurte. Xhejlane, the second daughter of the family, is at school.

Vahide is a 42-year-old woman, beaten by life. I notice her kindheartedness and love for her children from the first moments of encountering with her. She encourages Shkurta to talk to us while staying out in the cold without a coat on. "I'm Shkurta and I am 13 years old. Along with my brother, Muhamet, we attend the 5th grade in the elementary school”, explains Shkurta, resembling her mother in the warm and positive way of talking. "I like Math, calculations ... But when I grow up, I want to be a pediatrician." "Why a pediatrician?", I ask her. "Because I would love to work and take care of children." Shkurta’s motive for becoming a doctor in the future is related to the great desire of helping others, perhaps driven by the fact that her father passed away four years ago by not being able to receive the medical cure. His absence in the family is felt in each aspect of their lives.

At the Girls Club in our center in Fushe Kosove, Shkurta learns about the possibilities of education, lessons on health, hygiene, and sexual education. Mother Vahide highlights the contribution of The Ideas Partnership to her children's education. School transport, school materials, Saturday's Activities, various tours, greatly affect the educational development of her children, who did not have the equal financial opportunities as other children. I tell them that all these opportunities offered by TIP are made possible by many generous people around the world who make donations so children like hers get educated and have a better future. Their eyes shine. They know that there is someone out there who will not abandon them. And they do not know how to best express their gratitude to you who help them.

We greet each other warmly. The smile of the three gives me assurance that they will be fine. I very much hope so.

Their blue door closes behind us. And the rain begins to fall...

Muhamet and Shkurta with their mother, Vahide
Muhamet and Shkurta with their mother, Vahide
Siblings, Muhamet and Shkurta
Siblings, Muhamet and Shkurta
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Igballe and her grandson Isuf
Igballe and her grandson Isuf

Approaching the street on a brisk November day, we were met by young boys excitedly playing football along the track in front of us. After battling past the intense game out came the cheerful and petite Igballe, a 63-year-old woman who has lived in Fushe Kosovë for over 35 years.

It was clear straight away that she shares a close bond with her grandson, Isuf, who was latched on to her as we introduced ourselves. Other children were also huddled around Igballe, showing her to be a loved, motherly figure in the community.

Speaking to Igballe we soon learnt that after the death of her son, his wife moved away which left her to look after and raise her 3 grandchildren alone. It’s hard to imagine this weight of responsibility being put upon a person after dramatically losing their son; showing her to be a very brave, caring and selfless individual.

Igballe went on to describe the difficulties she has faced raising the children in Fushe Kosovë. Firstly, they only have water access between 10am-12pm which explained the numerous amount of large water bottles lined up outside her doorstep. To add to this hardship, the water is often dirty and has led to over 700 children in the community, as well as her grandson Isuf, contracting measles in the last three months alone.

Igballe told of the struggles of being the sole guardian of the children, expressing that “she must do everything.” Before the help of The Ideas Partnership centre in Fushe Kosovë, Igballe was forced to pick rubbish and scrap metal and try to sell it to provide the children with minimum basic needs.

Continuing to discuss The Ideas Partnership, Igballe described how they’ve helped provide clothes, shoes and the school equipment necessary for the three children to start attending school. Furthermore, the charity also provided transport for Isuf to get to the hospital and the required medication needed to aid his recovery from measles.

When talking to Isuf, a cheerful but initially shy 9-year-old boy, we asked him what he enjoys most about attending classes at the centre. To which he replied, his love for Maths evolving from his weekly Maths classes. We then asked of his dreams and ambitions for the future, timid at first, he described that he always wants to be a hard worker. However, after more conversation he then told us that he would love to become a chef in the future.

Unfortunately, we were unable to speak to Igballe’s other grandchildren, Hastrete, age 12 and Igballe, age 7 because they were attending school, something they likely wouldn’t have been able to do without the help of The Ideas Partnership.

Conclusively, the girls strong attendance and dedication to school and Isuf’s high ambitions for the future, prove that The Ideas Partnership are continuing to teach children in the community that hard work and commitment to their education will enable them to thrive in the future.

Donating to this page will enable more families like Igballe’s to get the school equipment necessary to be accepted into main stream school. Over the last 2 weeks being in the Fushe Kosovë community we’ve understood that giving a child the opportunity to get an education is undoubtedly the best gift of all. So there is no question, donate and get a kid to school.

Bottles filled with water for later use
Bottles filled with water for later use
Volunteers Jack and Mabel with Isuf
Volunteers Jack and Mabel with Isuf
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All four children of the family
All four children of the family

Walking across the small yard towards the front door of Naim's house involves picking our way through the excited, boisterous antics of young boys. Just as they begin to calm down from swinging on the gate and sprinting around exuberantly in order to lead us into their house, a young girl no more than three years old comes flying out of the door to see what the excitement is all about. Unfortunately she misjudges her footing, skids across some freshly mopped linoleum and comes to a halt missing some skin from one knee. She cries in anguish as her older brothers laugh at her, before her father comes to her rescue, sweeping her into his arms and reassuring her that she is fine. He gives her a big cuddle as she wraps herself around his torso sobbing.

By the time we have removed our shoes and entered the bare but clean living room, order has been restored. The family’s bedding is rolled up one sofa, we are offered the other one. The boys are perched one behind the other next to the bedding, inquisitive eyes wide. Naim, the father is now cross legged on the floor with his young, (now recovered) little daughter sat comfortably in his lap, a slightly older daughter is nestled into his side. The love these girls feel for their father is palpable. Suzane, the mother stands calmly in the doorway, unfazed by the initial chaos our visit has wreaked upon the household.

The smallest daughter, Mejreme is just three years old, next comes Muhamer, a boisterous five year old boy. Medina, currently nestled into her father’s side is eight and the charismatic Mendo is eleven years old. The family doesn’t call Mendo by his real name, instead preferring to call him ‘Egzon’ – loosely translated as ‘something that gives joy’. In September, little Muhamer who recently finished kindergarten at the Ideas Partnership community centre will be registered in the first grade of government school. Medina will enter the third grade and Egzon the sixth. The love and pride Naim and Suzane feel for their children runs deep. Suzane attended kindergarten, but her parents would not let her pursue education after that, although she proudly informs us that she can read and write. Naim had to leave school in the eighth grade due to the war. He tells us how the Serb forces used to beat him if they caught him trying to sneak to school. When the war got really bad, his family fled to Macedonia as refugees. Naim returned to Kosovo in 1999 but could never finish his schooling.

Naim’s experiences have resulted in him taking nothing for granted. A soft faced, gentle parent, he tells his children sternly every day “you have the freedom to do whatever you want” and encourages them not to be lazy in their studies. Because Naim wasn’t able to finish high school he has been unable to get a job, despite speaking five languages. Without support from the Ideas partnership he and Suzane wouldn’t be able to afford to send any of their children to school. When I ask how he feels knowing that all of his children will attend school, he replies passionately that he is “super proud” because they can achieve a much higher level of education than he did. As his daughters nestle into him and the boys listen intently, he tells us that his mantra to his children is that “freedom is everything”, he drills the importance of education into them regularly, reminding them that “without education they’ll be nothing.”

Naim becomes animated as he presses the point that without The Ideas Partnership he wouldn’t be able to pay for the bus to school, buy bags, books, or provide them with shoes and clothes suitable for school. “The Ideas Partnership doesn’t just help a little, it helps a lot” he explains, and we can sense exactly how much the opportunity to education his children means to him. He is acutely aware of the opportunities that in turn, education will provide for his children.

When I ask if Naim has a message for donors, without having to think, he gives a simple but extremely heartfelt and passionate “thank you so much”. Thank you for the support, for the help getting his kids to school, and also for the organized excursions which give his kids the opportunity to leave Fushe Kosove and explore their country.

When I ask if Naim has a message for potential donors, he takes a minute to think. A smart and intuitive man, he states “it’s hard for people to understand the living conditions and the obstacles we face in our community unless you see it with your own eyes. If you see it, you will feel moved to help us.”

So what do the children want to do with their education we wonder? Well, typical of young boys everywhere, Egzon would like to be professional footballer. Medina would like to be a singer, and Muhamer… with a worldly shrug of his little shoulders which indicates the stupidity of my question when directed toward somebody of his age, he replies that he is only five. How should he know? Fair enough! I ask Naim and Suzane if they have any particular aspirations for their children. Their united reply: “we will support them in whatever they chose to do – we will never interrupt their dreams.”

Thank you for supporting The Ideas Partnership and ensuring that through education, children like these can have dreams, big ones, with plenty of opportunities as well. The recipients of support from the ‘Get a Kosovan Kid to School’ project are extremely grateful and do not take a penny of it for granted.

Mendo and his sister Mejreme
Mendo and his sister Mejreme
The whole family together
The whole family together
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Albina and Mentor in front of their home
Albina and Mentor in front of their home

Outside the Bajrami family house,  Mentor and his friends are laughing, shouting, and soaking each other with a hose to keep the summer heat at bay while Albina and her mother are looking after the baby inside. Mentor, 10, and Albina, 8, live with their parents and while their mother takes care of their 9 month old sister their father works as a manual laborer whenever a job is available. Because their father’s work is not consistent the Bajrami family relies on donors like you for school books, pencils and notebooks, and other supplies required for a successful education.

 

Sitting on the corridor floor, Mentor is full of laughter and has a bright smile. “I love playing football, and my dream is to become a professional footballer”, he exclaims. However, he assured us that even professional footballers need an education, and he continues to explain that his favorite subjects in fifth grade were math and English. “I’m excited to start school again next year!” While he waits for summer to end, Mentor wants to practice his football skills.

 

Albina is shy and quiet, but laughs as her baby sister gapes around her, eyes wide at the strangers in her home. She smiles and opens up when talking about school and finishing up third grade. “I love studying Albanian”, she says, and without much prompting, Albina recites an Albanian poem beautifully describing the weather of autumn, all from memory and with a steady voice. Her favorite activity in school is playing Follow the Leader, and naturally, she wants to be an English teacher.

 

The Bajrami family is grateful to The Ideas Partnership donors like you who make education for their children possible, and lets them look forward to professions like a footballer or an English teacher.

Albina showing her crown
Albina showing her crown
Mentor and Albina holding their baby sister
Mentor and Albina holding their baby sister
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Avdi and his sister Medina
Avdi and his sister Medina

Lendita is a 29 year-old woman from Fushe Kosove. She lives with her husband Bergim and their 5 children in an old, broken-down house , barely managing to feed themselves with Bergim makes by rubbish picking.

Neither Lendita nor Bergim were able to finish compulsory education due to living in very vulnerable conditions. But exactly because they weren’t able to get an education themselves, they are very determined to work on their children’s education, even though they don’t have many resources.

We wouldn’t have been able to take them to school if it weren’t for your help’- says Lendita, holding her youngest daughter Melisa, who is only one year-old. ‘The books are so expensive, and so are the school bags’- she continues.

The oldest two of her children, Medina (7), and Avdi (6), are now both attending the first grade, with bags and other school material provided through your donations.

‘My favourite subject is Maths!’ – says Medina smiling, – ‘ I want to become a teacher when I grow up, I want to teach other children Maths’.

‘Maths is hard’ - Avdi jumps in. - ‘ When I grow up I want to get my driving license, daddy told me I could if I studied!’

Besnike, Bergim’s sister who lives next door says that it is very nice seeing the children come back from school and work on their homework, ‘It gives us hope for a better future, we were never given the chance to study’.

Because of you children like Medina and Avdi dare to dream, and because of your support they are able to work on making those dreams come true. Thank you for being there for these children and helping them build an appropriate future, paving the way for the generations to come as well.  

Little Melisa in front of the house
Little Melisa in front of the house
Lendita and her children
Lendita and her children
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Organization Information

The Ideas Partnership

Location: Prishtina - Kosovo
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @kosovarngo
Project Leader:
elizabeth gowing
Prishtina, Kosovo
$46,962 raised of $49,000 goal
 
932 donations
$2,038 to go
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