Kosovan Government turns to ORT to educate itspeople


Eli Eliezri, representing both the American Joint Distribution Committee and ORT has been in Kosovo since the end of June identifying projects which can support the returning refugees. ‘I didnt know what to expect but when I arrived I found children hanging around the streets with no activities because there were no schools operating.’ Eli soon found an empty school which had been closed for the past seven months and which had not allowed Albanian children to attend for the past 10 years. The windows were all broken and the building was in a terrible condition. Eli met with Hashim Tachi, the Acting Prime Minister, and discussed the idea of ORT/JDC taking over the school, located just outside Pristina. Mr Tachi gave his approval and within days, the former teachers from the school were re-appointed. Eli also met with the headteacher and teachers from another school in Prizrem, southern Kosovo. In this case, the Serbs had evicted the teachers from the school. With the two schools now operating, a total of 2500 children, aged 6-14 years, are attending classes. and to date, 1200 adults have registered for English classes.To accommodate the numbers of students, there are 4 shifts within the school day. Each student has 4 hours of classes per day. Adults classes are provided in the evenings. These schools are regarded as model educational establishments and the Government has requested that ORT take over all of its fourteen schools in Pristina. Once the buildings are repaired, ORT will equip each school with computer laboratories and provide teacher training. ORT will provide constant pedagogical supervision for the schools. Beside computer studies, English language will be taught using EnglishSpace, an ORT multi media programme for students learning English as a second, or additional, language. The next phase will be for ORT to have mobile training laboratories. Each self contained unit will be equipped with a generator to enable students from remote villages to have access to computer classes and acquire vocational skills to enhance their employment prospects. ORT, together with the JDC, are the only organisations providing educational activities in Kosovo for children and adults since the war began. AN EMOTIONAL RE-UNION AT ORT HOUSE, CAMDEN TOWN Whilst Eli Eliezri was meeting in World ORT Unions headquarters in Camden Town, Dejan a volunteer, originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia, walking past the meeting room. caught sight of Eli and exclaimed ‘You – You saved my life!’. During the Bosnian war, Eli saved thousands of Jews whose lives were in danger, taking them across the mountains into the safety of Croatia This was the first time Dejan had seen Eli since he was rescued but he had never forgotten Eli and was thrilled to have the opportunity to thank him for saving his life. Dr Gideon Meyer, Deputy Director General of WOU, met Dejan whilst visiting a Jewish refugee camp in Croatia and, when he arrived in the UK, Dejan offered to volunteer for ORT and help the organisation achieve its aims. WORLD ORT UNION is one of the largest non-governmental education and training organizations in the world and collaborates with various international co-operation agencies. ORTs support is always linked to training and employment, helping people to help themselves. ORT has supported economic and social development in more that sixty countries through vocational education, training and the provision of technical assistance. World-wide, ORT has over 12,000 teachers and a current student body of 260,000.