Liljana Luani is a world-famous Albanian multi-award-winning teacher with over 38 years of teaching experience and out of which past she has spent the last 15 years volunteering to educate children held by blood feud. She has been honored with several awards and certificates for her work with children and families isolated by blood feud phenomenon. In 2012, she was honored with the Universal Peace Ambassador Award and in 2013, the Golden Rose Award in the field of Education. Later in 2017, she was honored with the Courageous Woman Award, presented by Ambassador Donald Lu on behalf of the US Secretary of State. In October 2018, she was awarded the National Teacher of the Year Award in Albania. Later in the same year (December 2018), she was selected as one of the 50 best teachers in the world by the organizers of the world-famous Global Teacher Prize, an annual US $1 million award.
During these trying times, investing in education is truly a challenge. In Albania, educating children was especially difficult not only because of the lack of technology and internet availability but also because of the blood feud. However, just because it is difficult, it does not mean it is impossible. We must learn to work with what we can. If earlier we participated the children in summer activities like a beach holiday camp coupled with activities and excursions to different Albanian cities to get the students acquainted with the cultural and artistic values of the country, this summer we work with the children affected by the blood feud through the motto “We have fun and learn by working”.
So instead of group activities, we interact one-on-one with the children. We do this in the following ways:
- Awareness through working with 3 R- of the environment; Recycling, Reconstruction, Reuse
- Creation of decorative objects with various objects such as beads, shells, smooth pebbles, twigs, etc.
- Honing children’s crochet and needlecrafts and traditional wool processing or carving and wood processing abilities
We encourage children from different age groups to read scientific and artistic books. We also provide extra attention to guide and teach children, especially those in isolation because of the Blood Feud, to work and learn online, even in difficult situations, using technology and phones. We do this by teaching them on how to set up an online connection, understand the connection structure, provide them with a thematic plan of the course and activities defined in the structure, application games (as with Kahoot) where they learn different topics while playing, and creating a monthly calendar to make connections online.
I am positive that Albanian children will emerge victorious no matter what the roadblocks are because they have the iron will to defeat challenges.