A bright future ahead

The trip to Kosovo has come to an end. We have had a week of mixed emotions. Sometimes we felt inadequate, because when we were visiting Artan’s family in Gjakova we immediately wanted to do something. We felt that we should give something to them, but we could not. Then we were thinking further and realized that temporary efforts are not the way to go when you want a sustainable change. A sustainable change is what the IKEA Foundation and Save the Children in Kosovo are working for.

With their work, and Artan’s spirit, his dream of becoming a doctor might come true one day. They don’t do the work for Artan, they give him the prerequisites to do the work for himself.

Photo: Johan Petersson, Illustration: Adam Younes

We also felt hopeful during Wednesday afternoon. We were visiting the child-led municipality assembly in Peja and they were very impressive. It is clear that the next generation will contribute to positive changes in Kosovo. In spite of their young age, they were very wise in their reasoning. They talked about the importance of education and inclusion of minority groups. They also let us know that environmental issues are among their main concerns.

Save the Children in Kosovo is actively working for inclusive education, which means that every child is included in regular classrooms—minority children, children with disabilities and other children. Inclusive education is benefiting all children, teachers and society. The sense of togetherness increases and discrimination decreases. This week we have seen a lot of examples of this. On the picture below you can see Olisa and her friends. She has Down’s syndrome. Her peers told us that Olisa is very lively and contributes a lot to creating a good atmosphere in the classroom, and that they miss her when she is not in school.

Photo: Linn Pettersson, Illustration: Adam Younes

The week has been very intense and the time for reflections has been limited so far. But one thing is for sure; we leave with a lot of new impressions. We have seen in real life how this work makes positive changes for people in Kosovo. That gives us a lot of energy and motivation to continue the work we do back home and try to do it even better tomorrow.

We are very grateful that we got the opportunity to do this IWitness journey. Below you can see a short summary from each one of us.

All the best!

Linn Eriksson
My experience has been both difficult and heavy, but also hopeful. We have seen that there is a strong will to create a better future. I can see that the projects that are funded by the IKEA Foundation and run by Save the Children in Kosovo, and several other amazing organisations, are making a difference both for the individuals but also in society. Big changes take time—but we can see that the process is constantly ongoing and the long-term impact will be great. The programmes are already making a big difference in people’s lives. We have a bright future ahead of us.

Johan Petersson
I have had a lot of different feelings during this week. Both sad moments, but also moments that gave me hope for a bright future. I am so impressed with all the people we met this week. All of them put so much energy to make a positive change here. I also got a better understanding of how the work the IKEA Foundation does together with Save the Children contributes to a better everyday life for children in Kosovo. I take a lot of new impressions with me back home and I am so grateful I got the chance to experience this.

Kristoffer Persson
It’s been an intensive week with many impressions and feelings. It was really exciting and fun to see the difference we are making with the IKEA Foundation’s donations, together with the work of Save the Children in Kosovo. I see the will of learning sparkling in the children’s eyes and I can see that Kosovo will have a good and evolving future ahead.

Adam Younes
All the people I met and the new impressions have created memories for life. I am totally fascinated and moved by the work that is carried out within the partnership between the IKEA Foundation and Save the Children; it’s really making a big difference in many lives. My own experience of having been a refugee, along with what I have seen during this trip, has made me more convinced that life isn’t fair. But there are always good people who bring the sun to the dark side of the world, because everyone has the right to live in the light.

Jean Augustsson
This trip has been very inspiring, exciting and educational. There were many engaged people and hopeful children, who gives hope about the future. I will spread everything I have heard and seen because I want my friends and co-workers to learn about this too. With more knowledge about the work, I really see the meaning with continuing to support Save the Children.

Jenny Eskelinen
I leave this journey with a lot of emotions. You feel proud of the great work we are doing in the stores that makes it possible for Save the Children to reach out. I feel sad that resources and materials are still not enough. But seeing such joy and confidence in the children gives me hope. It’s very clear that the work they’re doing is to achieve equal rights for all children, no matter where you come from. With small funds you get a long-term and sustainable future. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Linn Pettersson
This trip has been incredibly educational for me, even though some things have been hard to hear and see. I am pleased with the help we from the stores, the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and other organisations give to this work. We may not think that €1 is a lot but it is. I have now seen what the money we donate does for others and that it really makes a difference! I am an experience richer and that’s something I will bring with me for the rest of my life.