Learning to dream

OM International | Kosovo

A local project supported by OM Balkans offers vocational skills training for youth who are at risk of dropping out of school. Valbona*, one of the coordinators, reviews the project’s first year, looks forward to fresh developments and shares how one teen’s life has been turned around through the training:

We had many students attend our classes last year and received great feedback about them. We offer classes to learn vocational skills in Electrical Installation, Welding and Tailoring. The students attend their class twice a week for nine months, and throughout those nine months we get to know the students and their families better, including their background situation and why they believe they are ready to leave school.

This year we hoped that more kids would join the project, so when schools and social services told us they were recommending many more students to us, we were filled with joy.

Another source (of students) has been the office that works with youth at risk of entering the criminal justice system. Due to all of this we have 51 students in the first level of vocational skills and 16 in the second level for our classes this year!

Because of the numbers now attending classes, we decided to add one more, a barbering class. Throughout these lessons we hope to see the students applying themselves in acquiring vocational skills, building relationships, and having an increased attendance in mainstream education.

Lira* is fifteen. Her school teachers were tired and ready to give up on her, but they put her name on our list for the training. They described Lira as "lacking focus, irresponsible, a troublemaker, and no hope for her to change her behavior." 

I visited Lira’s family, and her parents gave permission for their daughter to start the Tailoring course. Almost at once, the training seemed to fire Lira’s imagination, and she rarely missed a lesson. She was fascinated by dress-making, and began to wonder about it as a profession.

The tutor was so excited when Lira completed the course and got her first level certificate! Having mastered the basic skills of tailoring, Lira has won a place at the Art high school to study design, and has made good progress on the second-level course which the vocational project also offers. 

This simple tailoring course helped Lira find her dream of becoming a designer, and gain the focus, drive and responsibility to accomplish her dream through hard work.

Please pray for Lira to keep up the momentum and be successful in acquiring a job in design. Pray too for the staff, like Valbona, to have more opportunities to share the gospel with their students.

* Names changed

Published: Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Credit: OM International
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Kosovo is a crossroads of East and West, traditional and modern. The church is small, and struggling to find its own identity in a 90 percent Muslim majority. Many villages and towns have no Gospel presence at all. OM seeks to support local believers in building up the Body of Christ, reaching also the ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Serbs and Roma, who are often discounted. Our vision is to enable the local believers to reach the most unreached within Kosovar society.

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