Shpresa is a 13-year-old girl who, like too many others in the community where The Ideas Partnership works, dropped out of school. However, Shpresa then changed her mind. In most cases, there would be no going back, but with TIP's support, she has been able to enter an intensive programme which is getting her back to the standard she needs to be a to join her classmates,
Newly motivated, Shpresa is now also a regular volunteer at TIP, helping younger children with their learning at TIP's centre. These children, like Shpresa, have the chance to attend extra classes to boost their skills in English, maths and history, and receive books and schoolbags from TIP when school starts back this month.
Another child who's benefited from this was Niaz, who spoke to me with enthusiasm about how much he enjoys school. 'I get along well with everyone there,' he says as we talk at the centre in front of murals dotted with words like 'adventure', 'hope', and 'think'. Niaz is a regular participant of TIP’s reading club, where children read books in Albanian and English, and attends several other extra-curricular activities at the centre. 'The teachers at TIP have helped me understand concepts I'd struggled with in school, and taught me how to be friendlier as well,' he says. 'My relationship with the TIP teachers is great because they can find the balance between work and play.'
From meeting Shpresa and Niaz I see how TIP is essential in both facilitating access, and inspiring children to stay in school. Among the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, the rates of children dropping out are appalling and TIP helps to protect the fundamental human right to education for these children. As the mural reminds us, these activities offer adventure and they offer hope,