Conversation with Dorina Abdiaj, one of the success stories we are proud of at Shpresa Programme. Dori is friendly and bubbly, she is very hard working and dedicated. Dori also demonstrates vision and passion in her line of work, having open dicussions on gender roles, domestic violence etc, in order to tackle the current issues of the Albanian-speaking Community.
Interviewer: Hello, it is a pleasure to have you here, thank you for accepting to share your thoughts and involvement with Shpresa with us. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I studied in Albania as a social worker, I have completed my studies as a social worker and the Master in Gender and Development. I have worked as a trainer in various workshops on domestic violence in Albania.
At the moment I am running various workshops on family well-being in various aspects. For example, for Parenting: ‘How to build the routine of children from 0-12 months?’. Also workshops on domestic violence and gender equality. So, including in my work methodology social issues related to family and gender equality, e.g. for the gender division of labour, etc.
Interviewer: How were you first introduced to Shpresa?
When I talk about my first contact with Shpresa Programme, I need to tell an emotional story about myself. A friend of mine told me about Shpresa Programme, while I was very stressed and was explaining the situation where I was. I did not know enough English to start a job and I had a small child, I felt embarrassed and without a solution.
When I first entered the offices of Shpresa Programme and was greeted with all the answers to my questions, it seemed to me as if a light appeared in my life at that moment.
The Executive Director of Shpresa Programme, Luljeta Nuzi, a person who has given me a helping hand in the most difficult moments ahead, gave me answers and direction for my life since our first meeting – that is where my journey as a volunteer of Shpresa Progrmame began.
Interviewer: What was the potential gain you hoped to achieve?
My experience with Shpresa Programme is through the eyes of a volunteer, who came from a background of goals and a shared mission, to help and educate for a better future and healthier family life. After my role as a volunteer, I worked with Shpresa Programme as a ‘Women Support Programme’ project coordinator. Then, I worked with ‘Family Lives’ as a family support worker, as well as volunteering at Solace Woman. My journey continued by creating a project with the great support of the Shpresa Programme, of course. The project included the application of methodologies and further explorations to prevent domestic violence, collaborating with boys & men, in addition to the work we did with girls and women. This project was funded by the Enfield & Haringey Council, under the scheme of a project that supported new initiatives: the ‘Future Community Program’, an opportunity introduced to me by the Shpresa Programme. The project was then executed in the Albanian-speaking community, mainly for the users of Shpresa Programme.
Another initiative of mine inspired by Shpresa Programme is that I am incorporating extracurricular clubs in my son’s school, after lessons, to learn the Albanian language, for the Albanian children in that school.
Interviewer: What are some of the opportunities you found most interesting?
At first, I participated in English classes, then I worked in the office, with an admin role at the archives of Shpresa Programme, an experience that provided me with a lot of knowledge on the British working system of personal data protection and respect for the privacy of users at Shpresa Programme. Shpresa has offered me courses and training that I would not have had access to if it were not for Shpresa Programme. I made sure to make the most of them.
Interviewer: What are some of the campaigns that you think make the most impact at Shpresa Programme?
Shpresa Programme has done and is doing a very important job for the Albanian-speaking community in the UK. It is direct support for the needs of our community, whatever the status or requirements of each individual. Working hard and with dedication, Shpresa Programme has created a distinctive element from other organizations, support that creates a big family.
Interviewer: What did you learn from Shpresa Programme?
I learnt from Shpresa Programme that if you work hard, you can move forward. But, the qualifications, the opportunities, the relationships that I have created from Shpresa Programme, and the big impact it has had on integrating me into this country, have helped so much. I have always felt part of the Shpresa Programme, as a volunteer and as part of the staff, I have always had the same support and I have always felt the same warmth.
Something else that I find very special about Shpresa Programme is the healthy relationships they have built and connections that are created with different individuals, organizations, or partners. Shpresa Programme is a platform for building professional relationships as well as social relationships.
In this case, they helped me with the above-mentioned projects. Shpresa Programme has grown me professionally. It is very important to support each other and value integration in a foreign country.
Interviewer: How likely are you to refer Shpresa Programme to friends, family, and/or acquaintances? Why?
Absolutely, from 1-10, without question 10, for all the reasons I mentioned above. It is an open window for all of us. As a mother, I want my son to know Albanian, to recognise our national flag, the anthem and Shpresa does this best.