Seven days in Kosovo: A priceless experience

It’s amazing how one week flies and, unfortunately, this trip is almost at the end. I remember that on the second day we felt that we had already been in Kosovo for a long time, and today we feel that it was not enough.

Community Centre Mitrovica - By Leonor Jacinto
Community Centre Mitrovica – By Leonor Jacinto

This was a very deep and intense experience and, at times, overwhelming with a lot of information about a young country in a post-war process with so much to do to improve children’s rights and ensure equal access to education.

Before travelling to Kosovo, I was very unaware of the country’s social, political and economic situation. We knew Kosovo only from the news and, whenever there was coverage, it was about the conflict, so the trip was a unique opportunity to break those stereotypes that exist about the country.

During my time in Kosovo, I tried to learn and understand as much as possible about the education and development problems and challenges Kosovo is facing. After a week, I feel that I know a different part of the world more intimately, and am very proud to see the role I can play both as an IKEA co-worker and as a citizen of the project developed by the Save the Children team to improve education and the integration of children.

Handikos Rehabilitation Centre Gjakova - By Leonor Jacinto
Handikos Rehabilitation Centre Gjakova – By Leonor Jacinto

It was an amazing opportunity to be able to know not only Save the Children but their local partners, such as Iniciativa 6 and Handikos, to see how they work together in schools, rehabilitation centres and inclusive centres, and how collaborative and committed they are to making a difference in children’s lives in Kosovo.

Jeta Rë Community Centre in Prizren - By Leonor Jacinto
Jeta Rë Community Centre in Prizren – By Leonor Jacinto

The best part of the experience was the children we met and the opportunity to interact, play, and talk with them. They were amazing, and I felt very humble with their openness, hope and ability to look forward and hope for a better future. It was an honour to be able to know the future leaders, managers and entrepreneurs of the country. We learned that even with lots of challenges everyone can work to make a positive change and invest in their country.

Jeta Rë Community Centre in Prizren - By Leonor Jacinto
Jeta Rë Community Centre in Prizren – By Leonor Jacinto

Personally, I am committed as an ambassador of the IKEA Foundation to share all the stories we bring from this trip with my co-workers and friends and family. Talking to the IKEA co-worker group, we all came to an agreement that this experience has made us so much richer, giving us a new perspective about a place that we knew little to nothing about, and that we have a duty to educate our co-workers about the role each and every one of us can play through the opportunities with IKEA to make the world a better place.

Prizren Ibrahim Fehmiu School - By Leonor Jacinto
Prizren Ibrahim Fehmiu School – By Leonor Jacinto
English
    Leonor Jacinto