The brass band, the BBC and the zimmer framewhat visitors have brought to TIP’s work in Kosovo
We always welcome visitors to The Ideas Partnership’s work in Fushe Kosove and elsewhere, and over the past three months we’ve had some particularly wonderful visitors bearing some particularly wonderful gifts. In this quarterly newsletter we’ll tell you: – What our visitors have brought– What else we’ve been up to– How you can helpVisitors to our projects have brought benefits to the communities we work with in the form of legal aid(we’ve started an arrangement with CLARD to use our Fushe Kosove centre for two hours a week to offer free legal aid to local residents), 1000 sunflower seeds(thanks to UNDP who funded our planting day to celebrate 1 May), and the zimmer frame brought out along with boxes and boxes of children’s shoes by Hope and Aid Direct. The zimmer frame was something we’d asked for on behalf of a woman with two broken hips in the Roma and Ashkali community we’ve been supporting in Gadime. You can get a sense of her delight in being able to move around her own home again in the photo of her attached.

When the headteacher of Rendcomb College in England visited us last year with his family it led to a relationship between the students at Rendcomb and the children studying in Fushe Kosove, and we’re really grateful to have been chosen as the charity for Rendcomb’s summer ball this year. The money raised will pay the salary of our family advocate who has helped register 200 children for school and makes regular visits to them at home to ensure they don’t drop out.

We’ve also had unforgettable visits from Clowns without Borders, performing to an audience of 200 adults and children in a field near our centre, and theBritish Royal Marine Band. We never thought we’d be expanding the horizons of the children in Fushe Kosove to include such an enormous euphonium…

So when are you going to come and visit? And what can you bring? It can be enough to bring yourself – as proof that people care, and are interested and willing to share their skills. We’ve enjoyed hosting three groups towatch our soapmaking project at work, and the women whom we employ – who take home all the profit from their sales, and use it to support their families – have been happy to show guests how they work. Let us know if you or a group would like to come and watch soap being made
 Often the people who come act as ambassadors – like John McCarthy and the producer of Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4 who visited Janjevo, the silver filigree workshop in Prizren, a kulla and the Ethnological Museum to report on the photography exhibition TIP helped to stage there. You can hear the two programmes they made here and here.

What else have we been up to?

As well as all the activities above we’ve:

 – Continued our regular activities – teaching 120 children every Saturday in Fushe Kosove, registering50 children to start school in September, and also in the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community in Fushe Kosove offering dance, football, art, German, and adult literacy classes as well as parenting classes, clothing distribution and medical support, supporting 6 young men with bursaries to complete their high school diplomas at evening classes, or attend university, and taking children with special needs to physiotherapy every week. In Janjevo, running weekly homework classes in English and Albanian

– Worked with the KYET summer school who included 20 of our children (including four children with special needs) in a daily programme of art, sport, dance, drama and music

– Started our own photography summer project in Janjevo (see photo attached), building on the success of the Neighbourhood 29 project in Fushe Kosove. Some wonderful photographs have been taken, and more are to come

– continued our microfinance projects and brought outnew designs (which you can see in the attached photo) for the bags made by women in Istog

– taken part in an EU panel about our upcycled candleholders for World Environment Day, and been shortlisted by FIQ from 67 applicants for innovative green business ideas to compete in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch for investment in our microfinance project. The women employed on our project have also presented at a workshop organized by ECMI to share their success

 – taken part in the Ta Pastrojme Kosoven clean-up day

How has it all been possible?Only with help from:– Some wonderfully generous individual donors– The Finnish Embassy who have given us funding so that our women’s microfinance projects making soap and candle-holders can continue into 2014– The American Embassy who have given us funding so that our English teaching of 180 children a week in Fushe Kosove and Janjevo can continue into 2014

– The 40 people who ran the Prishtina half marathonor 5k race and all those who sponsored them, raising 2000 euro and 342 litres of juice for the children who attend our Saturday activities in Fushe Kosove, donated by the lovely people at Frutomania who gave 1litre of juice for every kilometer run

– Falmouth Rotary Club for their generous cheque

And the tireless work of our staff and volunteers. Thank you to all of you 🙂