Local initiatives go beyond just volunteering

Vlora Krasniqi, student, has been volunteering for over five years. For two years she was the leader of the Local Youth Council of Action in Vushtrri and during this time Vlora alongside other youngsters from town was engaged in helping their community.

Krasniqi insists that the local activities go beyond the limits of only volunteering.

She says that Vushtrri has large number of youth organizations and a considerable number of young people who take part in volunteer work.  Among others she mentions the youth organization “Lëvizja Koha” (Movement Koha) that deals with education and culture, and “Kult Studio” that deals with art and paintings.

There is no exact number of active volunteers because this constantly changes. The mobilization of young volunteers is strong and they usually are the ones who also initiate activities.

“Sometimes when there were youth problems that affected us, we were the first ones to take the initiative for it. I will mention the case of Vushtrri Fortress which was to be privatized and designated as a coffee. Civil society reacted, mostly young people with banners calling for this monument to be used as a place for trainings, seminars and any other activity”, Krasniqi says.

Among other activities Krasniqi singles out the Science and Culture Fair where innovative young people not only from Kosova but Albania and Montenegro as well had the opportunity to get together and show their skills in science and culture.

By way of local volunteering, thirty volunteers aged 14 to 22, since September have been engaged in activities to assist families in need. The activity was  initiated by a student, Edina Imeri, aimed at gathering a group of young people who would work as volunteers for the benefit of the community, providing assistance to families in need, including food and clothes.

Edina thinks that young people should participate more in volunteer work and adds that helping community is a good feeling. She feels especially pleased with the visit these young people paid to kids with special needs.

“A very good feeling. Those kids are so dear, they are capable of giving honest and unconditional love. A feeling that you can not describe”, says Imeri.

At the end of January, in a cafeteria near the Vushtrri Fortress a group of young people gathered clothes for families in need. The clothes were donated to some villages of Vushtrri such as Druar and Kollë, part of them will be distributed to the “Red Cross” in Vushtrri and to the municipality of Prishtina.

The most difficult moment for Arbesa Hoxha, a student of “Eqrem Qabej” high school was when she saw the kids of these families who had no clothes.

“It was really touching to see these families in a miserable condition,” says Hoxha and adds that young people should get more involved with volunteer work.

“What may be a little from us, will mean a lot to them”, says Arbesa.

Arbër Hoxha, a student of the Faculty of Philosophy, tells us with pride that until now they helped sixteen families. Among the first activities was the visit to kids with special needs in a special classroom of “Ali Kelmendi” primary school in Vushtrri where they donated toys.

“For a few hours we spent time together with these kids and gave them toys… In a way this was an act of solidarity”, says Hoxha.

A three day activity of selling desserts took place in the center of Vushtrri. Various desserts made with love from the young volunteers were places on the wooden table. They collected 600 euro from selling these desserts, which were used to help twelve families with food and 25 kilograms of flour.

“Together we dedicated some time for it, we worked together so we could bring happiness to families in need”, says the leader of the Youth Initiative for Charity of Vushtrri (IRBV), Arbër Hoxha.

Yet another charity event was organized for a boy from the municipality of Vushtrri, who needed funds to pay for his treatment overseas.

“Initially there were doubts, since we are only a small initiative, but at the end of the day it was proven that when work starts with good will, half of the job is already finished. It wasn’t difficult because there was always great will to help the ones in need”, says Adnan Jashari, also a member of IRBV.

Even though volunteers at times were ignored by some people, most of them supported them, either financially or by donating different.

Kastriot Tahiri, a high school student of “Eqrem Qabej” says that there were other donations by citizens, with small contributions from 50 euros and up. Various Vushtrri companies had also offered help to these volunteering initiatives.

Kastriot says that no matter how little the help from their side may be, it means a lot to the people in need. According to him it is an emotional experience when you see others happy and he promises that they won’t stop.

“We need to think more about poor people, if we can help others why not act upon it. This way we can somehow cheer them up”, says Tahiri, member of IRBV.

Arbnor Hasani, student, adds that without the support of their own families when it comes to volunteer work, all this would be futile.

“My family always supported me in whatever volunteer work I engaged, as long as it was for the benefit of society”, says Hasani.

“Red Cross” that operates in Vushtrri since ’99 has gathered around 60 active volunteers ages 16 and up. Kumrije Zhabari, secretary of the “Red Cross” branch in Vushtrri, thinks that volunteers from this town are always ready to help their community. Among many youth activities she mentions the “Social Inclusion” that was held last year.

“For six months we had over 600 young people involved. Six volunteers were trained in Prishtina for different meetings and topics related to youth. We have also included different communities, the Roma community, and of course Turks and Albanians. That was something great that we have achieved. And we have seen how truly powerful volunteering is”, she says.

Shkurta Berisha

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