And we’re home!

Following the preparation for our journey and then visiting the incredible teachers, students and families involved in this trip, I’m having a bit of a hard time settling back into my “normal” life at home. I knew that this experience was going to be life changing, that we were going to be inspired by strength and commitment in areas where hope sometimes can be hard to come by. But I wasn’t expecting just *how much*.

Justin Bieber fan in Gracanica - by Jennifer Clowes
Justin Bieber fan in Gracanica – by Jennifer Clowes

Unemployment rates are just below 50% across Kosovo, and the youth population is over 50%. There are a lot of young people who need support to grow and to be successful adults in a place where children, their education, inclusion and rights have not been as valued as they should have.

Eriol in an inclusive class at Ibrahim Fehmiu in Prizren - by Jennifer Clowes
Eriol in an inclusive class at Ibrahim Fehmiu in Prizren – by Jennifer Clowes

But thanks to Save the Children, the IKEA Foundation and their partnering organizations, we’re seeing paradigm shifts. We see rates of school attendance increasing. We see more families of all kinds valuing the education of every one of their children. And we see children learning and advocating for their own rights.

Counting with Save the Children - By Jennifer Clowes
Counting with Save the Children – By Jennifer Clowes

For me, the realization that in Canada we are fortunate to rarely think about human rights was huge. These inspirational and well-supported children know what they need and they’re committed to making it happen. I’m happy to be reminded that these are conversations we need to have with our children here.

Spelling English words together - By Jennifer Clowes
Spelling English words together – By Jennifer Clowes

Faleminderit & hvala (thank you) Kosovo for the experience. I hope we can continue to serve more of your communities and to nurture incredible adults for your future together.

Roma boys in a supplementary class Gracanica - By Jennifer Clowes
Roma boys in a supplementary class Gracanica – By Jennifer Clowes