A project set to change children’s future
Government of Croatia helps Albania rebuild a school and kindergarten damaged by the earthquake.
Fushe Kruje, 26 November 2019. Dawn.
The earth kept shaking.
Buildings collapsed trapping people inside and leaving them under the rubble.
People lost their loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods.
Children of Fushe Kruja lost something dear to them: their school and kindergarten. But they did not lose heart.
Ina Skenderi, an eighth grader at “Iliria 9-year school” recalls the next day when together with her friends, ran to their school holding their breath.
“It was so sad to see it heavily damaged. Our teachers did not allow us to get close because they feared for our safety. The old school building was already in a very bad shape. It had a lot of moisture. It looked like it was ready to fall apart. Good news is that a beautiful school is being built instead. Together with my friends we joined consultations about the new school. The architects presented two versions for the design and we were asked to pick one. This was an entirely new thing to us”.
Pamela Hasa, a pupil in the same school says: “Our school is still under construction but it already looks like a dream come true. We have been told it will have a gym, a sports court, well-equipped science laboratory, library and everything else that a school in Europe has.”
Skerdi Karaj — Principal of “Iliria” 9-year school says: “As the School Principle for over three years, my biggest challenge was the school infrastructure. The devastating earthquake of November 26th brought further damages, which could not easily be repaired and at the same time made pupils and teachers feel more insecure. Lucky enough with the kind support of the Croatian Government, an entirely fit for 21 century education school is being built which promises to resist natural disasters. For the very first time ever, we were engaged in consultations about the new building. This gave us a strong sense of belonging”.
Kujtim Zalla — Resident of Fushë-Kruja says: “I am a resident of Fushë-Kruja community. My children attend “Iliria” 9-year school. Before the earthquake, the school was already old and did not meet the right conditions for a decent education. After the earthquake it became a big safety issue for pupils and teachers. I have seen the school design. I can’t be happier. A decent education is all I can give to my children.”
A smart investment from the Government of Croatia
The new school, a one- Million Euros investment from the Government of Croatia, is part of the Education Recovery Support fund made available to Albania to cope with the devastating earthquake of November 26th, 2019.
UNDP, as the implementer of the Programme, combines two principles during the reconstruction process: #BuildBackBetter and #BuildBackTogether.
#BuildBackBetter implies stronger structures which can resist earthquakes and natural disasters bearing the highest international standards of quality and safety. The new school will have renewable energy sources, will be fully accessible for pupils and children with disabilities and will have dedicated spaces for medical care and psychological support. It will also have modern classrooms, indoor and outdoor sports playgrounds, cooling and heating system, psychological and medical room and other facilities for cultural events.
Minister Counsellor of Croatian Embassy in Tirana Maja Drmač said: “This is a strategic investment of Croatian Government in Albania. It is an investment for the future generations of Albania , That is why it has very special importance. We are looking forward to seeing the completion of the schools before the next academic year to serve the 150 children and 14 teachers. The school is being built with the highest European standards, will be bigger, safer and well-equipped with all necessary equipment needed for the teaching and learning process.”
150 pupils and 14 members of the academic staff will return to the new school at the start of the next academic year.
If you go to Fushe Kruja, here is a suggestion: Go and visit the newly built school and kindergarten. There’s nothing better than smiley faces of children. They are happy for this investment set to change their future.