Kruja is a charming medieval village in Albania, just 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of the capital, Tirana. It is beautifully situated between mountainous peaks with a green valley stretching down to the Adriatic coast.
Each year, the seaside town hosts a special event to encourage the youth as they complete nine years of primary education and three years of secondary school. The young people dress in formal attire and parade in front of the people gathered in the piazza. Together with their parents and friends, they celebrate their successful high school graduation. This upcoming fall, some of them will leave town to continue their educational journey at university.
In a new initiative on July 21, 2021, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Albania partnered with the Municipality of Kruja to highlight their success despite the devastating earthquake two years ago and the recent months of isolation and social distance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ADRA team invited two young and talented singers to organize a concert whose memory may help leave a lasting impact on the youth and their parents.
Kristi Qendro, ADRA’s representative and project manager of the advocacy initiative “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.,” shared a positive message with attendees. She encouraged them to pursue their dreams and to continue their education throughout their lives.
“Education is important in your lives,” Qendro said. “Yes, there were difficulties and even casualties due to the earthquake and the pandemic. But keep dreaming and pursuing your dreams. You should never, never give up. Keep learning and developing,” she told them.
Qendro stressed the importance of girls’ education, noting the need to challenge harmful customs and practices. “Maybe our perception is that education is not important for girls, but this should change. The education of girls is as important as the education of boys. By educating a girl, we create better conditions for whole families and future generations,” she said.
Turning to parents and other citizens present, Qendro emphasized, “Keeping youth at school builds a more sustainable and strong society.”
The warm summer night concluded with a speech by the Director of Education and Culture of Kruja. ADRA Albania representatives said they hope that the impact of this initiative lasts for years.