Photo Sara

The initiative that changed a community

Sara from Shkodra shares that only a few months ago she had the opportunity to work on the computer in her school for the first time. "I am happy that finally our initiative to equip the school with computers has become a reality.

This was something new to me and quite exciting. I want to learn more about technology," the 15-year-old girl states. Despite the scarce opportunities in her area, she is quite a talented girl and tries to secure new opportunities for herself and her peers.

Up until last autumn, Informatics classes in Sara's school were carried out only with the textbooks and the students did not have the chance to practice the acquired knowledge. Equipping the school with computers is helping them to become proficient in this field, which nowadays attracts many teenagers and youth.

"Investing in the Informatics Cabinet has made it possible for our students to participate in national and international competitions such as the "Microbit Project". "The role of nuclear technology in addressing climate change" is another European project to be held in Vienna and our students will have the opportunity to participate online from their school," the computer science teacher Elvina reveals.

In Sara's community many families in need cannot afford having internet connection and a computer at home. The shift of institutions to online services restricted them from obtaining the various documents they need. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the situation. According to the government regulations, people needed to apply to E-Albania government system explaining the reason they needed to go out during the quarantine and get permission. Those who didn't have access to computers faced real difficulties.

It was the youth of the IMPACT groups who identified this community concern and, together with the school, applied for a mini-grants programme initiated by World Vision.

The establishment of a service room providing access to technology for the entire community, students and teachers had become a necessity. Last summer, World Vision provided the school with computers, an investment that helps not only the students but also the community. During the school hours, the computer room is used by students to practice the knowledge gained during the Informatics class. After the school hours, the computer room helps citizens to access various online services.

The computer room is open to the community from Monday to Friday until 16:00. With the help of a teacher or a student from IMPACT youth groups, community members can open an E-Albania account, download, and print family and personal certificates, as well as vaccination certificates or medical prescriptions.

The new space is also being used by many young people in the village to apply for jobs and obtain various information. The school principal, Taulant says that community members are grateful and quite surprised that the school offers this type of community service free of charge.

The citizens themselves affirm that the service room saves them money and time; before they had to go to the administrative unit to get information or service they could easily access online. Reaching the administrative unit is not easy; the village does not have public transportation. Today everything is easier. They just need to approach the school and use the computer. *World Vision works with youth by providing them with the opportunity to express themselves, build capacities and skills and undertake projects benefiting the community.''

During the past year, World Vision reached 13,888 children from 23 schools in 11 municipalities of Albania  through its mini-grant programme to upgrade school infrastructure and create an inclusive environment.