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See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars

by The Ideas Partnership
See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars
See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars
See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars
See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars
See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars
See Me; Braille Education for 10 Blind Kosovars

This is the story of Diellza who is 10 years old and follows the activities of the See Me project in Gjakova.

Diellza started the conversation by thanking us very much for the opportunity to be part of this family that brings warmth and love every day. Diellza was dealing with some health problems such as visual problems, speech problems, and backbone problems, where she was later unable to even walk. She felt hopeless until she started following the activities on 2017, therefore following the regular activities and hard work of the trainers, she began to walk, accomplishing her personal needs.

During the visit she demonstrated to us some very good physical movements, and also showing the first words she learned during activities "Good Girl Diellza" and "Beautiful Diellza",  that motivate her to continue to join the association.

We are very thankful!

Instructor Shaip and three of the students
Instructor Shaip and three of the students

    September has arrived with great news for The Ideas Partnership, as well as for the See Me project’s team. Braille, Mobility, and Computer classes have started earlier this month with seven visually-impaired children benefitting from the project.

There is this saying that stayed with me during the time we raised funds for the project - “Even without sight, there is still vision” - and that seemed to be our motto and hope that the classes will make a comeback in September, and so they did.

We couldn’t be happier that the classes are lively once again, and that the center of the Society of the Blind in Gjakova will be filled with laughter and hopes of Rinor, Alaudin, Blerta, Diellza, Sinavere, Sadik and Elfete. We surely could not resist and went to visit the children on what seemed to be the busiest day they’ve had thus far. There, waiting for us, were our two amazing Braille and Mobility instructors, Shaip and Xhafer, donors, partners, and local media who were particularly interested to hear more about the project and talk to the children and their parents.

The children’s happy faces, the excitement of the instructors, the hope and vision we all have for this project wouldn’t be possible without your support, so thank you! Your donations are making possible for seven visually-impaired children to learn to read and socialize with each other, an opportunity they never had before!

Student Diellza with her teacher
Student Diellza with her teacher
Shaip teaching Sadik
Shaip teaching Sadik

 As the days continue to pass, Shaip and Xhafer, instructors of the facility, work hard to reach the visually impaired youth in the municipality of Gjakova.

The facility in Gjakova lacks the necessary resources and funding to be an effective learning environment for visually impaired children.

While municipality officials have for months discussed the hopes of getting the children an updated and spacious facility, Shaip says there is no traction on this, only promises. While waiting for the updated facility, they continue to hold Braille and Mobility classes once a week. However, due to lack of funding, instructors continue to use their own money for transportation to the children's homes which takes a financial toll on them.

Not having the necessary resources for effective learning for all means there is a lack of equity for these visually impaired children. Shaip comments on how a lack of education causes “rogue problems within their learning.” Without these classes, the visually impaired children of Gjakova are becoming behind in their studies while their classmates continue to propel forward academically. These classes not being held are not only discouraging for the children but for their parents as well. Both the children and their parents are losing interest, and when these classes start again, they may not be around to continue their education. Currently, only four students Sadik, Alaudin, Rinor, and Elfete continue their lessons while with the rest of the children do not due to their families lack of interest.

Majority of the children in help are those who live in very bad conditions. Many of these children do not have the necessary means of life lacking basic needs such as food and hygiene. For many of the visually impaired youth, education could be the key to a better future.

Shaip and Xhafer understand how detrimental a lack of education can be to a young person and so they continue the fight to educate the visually impaired youth of Gjakova by any means necessary. Despite all of the obstacles the facility faces, they know that these students can receive the complete education they deserve. Shaip and Xhafer are essential to the community of Gjakova making a huge impact, one small step at a time.

The classroom of the centre
The classroom of the centre

   Spring is just around the corner in the city of Gjakova and the weather has gotten a lot better. The once lively and filled with students’ classroom of the Society of the Blind is still empty although rays of sunshine have covered the whole centre making it a very warm environment.

It was the 55th birthday of Shaip, one of our two instructors, the day I visited them and he insisted on ordering us coffee. Being visually-impaired himself, he managed to order us cups of coffee by pressing numbers with the help of an application linked to his phone from which he was able to hear whether the numbers he was dialing were correct. Having been touched and impressed by the level of independence Shaip shows, I was once more aware of the importance the Braille classes have in teaching and preparing blind children in adjusting to everyday life.

After we’ve had our coffee, both Xhafer and Shaip informed me that the Braille and Mobility classes are being held voluntarily once a week in the homes of the students. “Since we don’t have enough funds to bring the students here in the centre, we try to visit them at least once a week in their homes and check up on their challenges and successes even though it means we have to pay for the transport from our own pockets,” says Shaip. He goes on to tell me that the number of people who have registered in the Society of the Blind and asked for their help in 2018 was 15, and what is more alarming is that most of them are under the age of 30. According to Shaip and Xhafer, the percentage of visually-impaired youngsters is rising in Gjakova compared to previous years, so they are very thankful to have our support and determination in continuing these classes for more youngsters.

The officials of the municipality of Gjakova have promised to continue their support by moving them to a more spacious and appropriate centre in the coming months. Being very excited about this new opportunity for the children, both of our instructors are hoping that our support will enable new classes to starts soon.

A child who is born blind does not know what it is like to see. But we can help them touch the future they want. You can help them do so by donating whatever you can to restart these classes again. This may be a very small step for you but a huge leap to the children who have no other hope!

Another view of the classroom
Another view of the classroom
Instructor Shaip teaching the students
Instructor Shaip teaching the students

    The coldest time of the year has approached and the children from Gjakova who are supported by the See Me project continue to take their lessons on Braille and Mobility Classes in their homes. The See Me project started around two years ago, as an initiative of The Ideas Partnership in cooperation with The Society of the Blind to ensure access to education for blind children who otherwise would have no opportunity to learn.

    Although it is rather difficult for Xhafer and Shaip, our two impressive Braille instructors (Shaip being visually impaired himself), to arrange transport which is partly supported by generous people of Gjakova and partly the project, they are very keen on continuing to motivate and inspire the five youngsters who need it and are very interested to learn.

    So far, our project has been a great help for these children. The center of The Society of the Blind in Gjakova is the place they feel safe and get together to share what they’ve learned and go on about how they are doing at school. However, due to lack of funding, we are having problems arranging transport from their homes to the center and back which, unfortunately, is having a negative impact on their learning process.

   We know that without the support of people like you, these children would have no chance of learning Braille and Mobility, nor getting registered and attending the mainstream school. That is why your help during the most difficult and coldest time of year would be highly appreciated. Thank you!

Shaip teaching students at their homes
Shaip teaching students at their homes
 

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Organization Information

The Ideas Partnership

Location: Prishtina - Kosovo
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @kosovarngo
Project Leader:
elizabeth gowing
Prishtina, Kosovo
* This project is competing for bonus prizes
through the Year End Campaign 2019. Terms and conditions apply.

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