Give us a hand 

Kesjana is one of the IMPACT club youth in Dibër who has recently been engaged in the REPORTERI blog, raising her voice for some of the issues that children, teens and youth in her community want to address.

In her first article, the 16-years-old girl wishes to become a doctor, addresses some of the main issues that, according to her, concern the youth in Dibër such as: lack of cultural, artistic, and sportive activities; lack of professional courses for talent development, and lack of meritocracy and employment opportunities. According to Kesjana, these are some of the reasons that affect youth motivation and urge them to build their lives in the capital, or even away from Albania.  

From the official INSTAT data for the fourth quarter of 2021, the official unemployment rate for young people aged 15-29 in Albania is 20.6% and this is another concern that Kesjana raises in her article.

In an open letter, the teenager from Dibër calls the institutions, organisations, and the community to create more opportunities for youth so that they grow professionally and achieve economic sustainability and independence.

Read the full letter of the 16-year-old:

Peshkopia is a beautiful city with a nature that evokes positive emotions in every season. During the end-of-year holidays the atmosphere becomes even more fantastic. A lively city where the youth spirit prevails everywhere. You can see only happy parents holding their children and well-dressed and educated youth. But this happens only once a year.

In ordinary days the atmosphere is not as pleasant. It turns into something else, which to the point of view of everyone here is gloomy. The streets are empty.  

As a high school student in Peshkopi, I witness the fact that the number of boys diminishes in the school classrooms every day. Their greatest desire is to leave the country to get foreign citizenship.  

To go abroad and make money because there is no job in our country, say some of my classroom friends. Very few think to continue the university after the high school. This reality hurts.

Watching my father in the field caring after the crops and cattle from 5 am in the morning, makes me feel bad as I cannot help him. I try hard to study and I think I should make my father proud of me, notwithstanding the barriers that youth in my country face.

“Each day I work after school. I am paid just 12,000 ALL (US$ 107). I dont have as much time as my classmates since I have to work. My parents are sick and I have no other choice,told me once Kledis, my classmate, who works as a waiter in one of the city bars.

The majority of the youth of Dibër dont return to their hometowns once they leave for studies. According to me, there is a strong reason why think is their destiny not to return. Firstly, they are can't get a job in field they have chosen. Often you need a friend to help you find a job in the administration, no matter if you deserve that position or not. You need to be able to live on a low salary when prices grow every day.

Unfortunately, nowadays youth less and less considers returning to the hometown to create an enterprise or to find a job.

The "trial" programmes for the youth potential development and promotion by the institutions have not been very effective so far. The cultural, literary and sports activities are few. We need more professional training centers. We need more opportunities to develop our skills, to learn new things or even to be entertained. We need employment opportunities, even only part-time. This would prepare us professionally and would give us a hand for the future.

The best for us would be to be employed in our country and build our future in Albania, yet many of us are forced to leave behind pieces of our souls to make living away from our home and family.

Youth carries the hope that one day Dibra and all of Albania will flourish. Youth should absolutely be appreciated and given attention so as leaving the country wont be encouraged. Give us more opportunities so that Albania will be different tomorrow. We are not just the future, we are the present.

Kesjana's sincere thoughts. She is one of the 216 young people of the IMPACT groups in Dibra.