Mirjeta lives in a small village in Librazhd suburbs. She enjoys learning new things. The opportunities available in her local area are a few, but her friend - the book - enables her to 'see' the world.
The 17-year-old girl is in the second year of high school and is engaged in IMPACT groups. She says that reading has helped her to “understand and explore life better”, beyond what she already knew.
The school library is the only opportunity for Mirjeta and her peers, as it is a space they can spend time after school hours, dream about the future, learn new things, and discuss different topics related to the school and the community. However, despite her passion for reading and knowledge, finding the next favourite book had not always been possible for her and other students.
The number of books available in the library was limited and the amenities were not suitable. This prompted the students to bring serious change to their school and the local community.
Mirjeta and her school were aware of the mini-grants offered by World Vision in support of youth ideas and initiatives to improve the social life in their local communities. With the help of the school principal and parent board, the 17-year-old girl and other students applied to get the support.
World Vision Albania responded positively to their initiative and equipped the library with 78 new books. The library facility was refreshed as well and was furnished with chairs, shelves, and tables.
Since July 2021 the library looks different. It is more colorful and enjoyable. The shelves are full and the chairs never empty. Mirjeta, Martina, Regio, Noel, and Blerta are sitting at the first table to the right. It is quiet everywhere. The only sound is the soft turning of the book pages they are reading.
“This was an essential investment to our school. I spend my free time reading. We did not have as many books as we do now and we were unable to find the books we needed. Now, our library has both academic books, as well as other books we can read at home in our free time. The library is also open to other community members,” says Mirjeta.
“Reading a book is always more valuable than scrolling on social media. I would suggest to my peers to spend their time more efficiently,” she continues.
Alma, the literature teacher, says that prior to the investment, the number of students who visited the library was small due to the lack of books for different age groups. According to her, the number of students interested in reading and visiting the library has regularly increased. Through their passion and own initiatives, in collaboration with school teachers and World Vision, Mirjeta and her peers are also enhancing the social and cultural life of their community. The library renovation has also brought more parents closer to the books.
“We are a Community-Center school and the teacher-student-parent trinomial has enabled our school to be welcoming to the community, too. The library has attracted several parents to the school, who read the available books,” says Ms. Alma, Mirjeta's teacher.
The new library hall also facilitates student and teacher meetings where they discuss school activities and initiatives.