University students are getting internships to help children with special needs and those from vulnerable communities in Kosovo

Published: May 25, 2022 Reading time: 3 minutes
University students are getting internships to help children with special needs and those from vulnerable communities in Kosovo
© Foto: Tereza Hronova

The Internship Program provides the opportunity for students to support children with special needs and those from vulnerable communities in regular schools with psycho-social services, teaching assistance and speech therapy. These students of psychology, pedagogy, speech therapy and education are part of PINs "Education for All" project which aims to promote inclusive education in eight schools and two Learning Centres across Kosovo.

Donika Bektashi from Presheva is at the end of her Bachelor's studies in speech therapy. In her free time, she is undertaking an internship at The Ideas Partnership learning centre, a partner organisation of People in Need (PIN). Donika supports pre-school children from the Ashkali and Egyptian communities and prepares them for the start of school.

Donika can practise her profession by helping children such as Leonit. "Leonit had problems pronouncing the SH sound, and as he is almost four years old and his teeth will be changing. But we have worked a lot with him, and now he is able to pronounce the sound and say it in sentences as well," says Donika. This five-month-long internship can help Donika in her future career by improving her employability.

"After I finish my studies, I will cooperate with some of my colleagues to open an office to provide low-cost speech therapy services for children. We will have a lot of volunteers so that they can gain professional experience," she explains.

Mihane Fetahu, a young psychologist, is also an intern providing services in schools and learning centres. "I am supporting 14 children with learning difficulties. These children are provided with the chance to achieve their full potential, taking into consideration their individual requests. They get familiarised with cognitive concepts, motor skills, development of communication, learning letters, numbers through different materials. Moreover, we have also helped them a lot in concentrating and other difficulties such as managing their behaviour," says Mihane. 

The internship program is an essential part of People in Need's "Education for All" project. So far fifty-six interns have been engaged in the project providing services in beneficiary schools and learning centres. "The beneficiary schools lack the supporting services such as psychologists, speech therapists and pedagogues for children with special needs and from vulnerable communities. Especially the speech therapy is a totally new service being offered in the schools. Before our project, parents were obliged to send their children to private speech therapy sessions and pay for them," says Njomza Emini, project manager from People in Need.

Each intern is assigned a mentor. They have regular monthly meetings with Varianty - a department of PIN promoting inclusive education in the Czech Republic. They share their experiences in working with children with special needs and from vulnerable communities.

The project "Education for all – Fulfilling the Rights of Children and Adolescents with Special Needs and from Vulnerable Communities," is funded by the European Commission – European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and is co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. It is implemented by PIN and two local partner organisations – The Ideas Partnership and Autizmi Flet – in six municipalities of Kosovo. These municipalities include Prishtinë/Pristina, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Fushë Kosova/Kosovo Polje, Graqanicë/Gracanica, Lipjan/Lipljan, and Obiliq/Obilic.
Autor: Tereza Hronova

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