Big leaps of success, one word at a time
This young painter is Nart Rexhepi. Nart is the only child of Selvete and Astrit Rexhepi with whom he lives in Pleshinë e Ulët, a small village near Ferizaj. He was born healthy but when he was just three his family began to notice that Nart wasn’t talking or saying basic words like ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ but only unintelligible sounds. After consultations with doctors and speech therapists, Nart was diagnosed with Speech Delay. This is a condition which refers to a delay in the development or use of the mechanisms that produce speech.
Nart’s uncle had heard of the Early Childhood Care and Development Center in Zaskok where Save the Children provides support for children 0-5 and advised Selvete to enroll Nart there in hopes that mixing playing with other children can help Nart’s condition . Henceforth, Nart got enrolled in the centre in the late February of 2019. Since then he has attended sessions at the ECCD centre in Zaskok everyday from Monday to Friday even though he lives half an hour away on foot.
“Everyday, I walk Nart to this center. The trip on foot takes about 30 minutes as we live in a neighboring village but I don’t mind that at all because I can see that being here is helping Nart a lot”
Selvete, Nart’s mother.
However, it wasn’t easy at first. According to Nart’s mother, he wasn’t used to interacting with other children and liked being by her side at all times but with time that changed for the better. She points toward Nart (while he is painting with other children in the classroom) and says: “look at him now, he is so used to being here with other children and playing that he is more independent and spends more time with other children here. He likes it here so much that asks me to take him even on weekends when the centre is off”.
His mother has also noticed gradual improvement on Nart’s speech as well. During the two and a half months that Nart is registered in the ECCD centre in Zaskok, Selvete tells us that he now can say Mum, Dad, Teacher, and can count to five! What is more important for Selvete is that he can understand her instructions more. Selvete tells us that “before he was difficult to handle, more aggressive and easily aggravated but now he understands when I tell him something or ask of him something and I believe being here with other children has helped him a lot in this”.
Nart likes to draw, paint and play with his friends who seem very accepting of him despite his condition as Nart’s educator tells us that “we focus a lot on inclusion of all children no matter their background or condition and children are taught to respect everyone no matter where they come from or how they look like”. Upon finishing our interview, Nart’s mother praises the work of the educator and the community mobiliser in Zaskok “their work is phenomenal and myself and my family are very thankful for their help, without which Nart’s progress wouldn’t be as it is” concluded Selvete.
The success of Nart was made possible by ''Promoting Early Childhood Care and Development'' project which is funded by Ferrari Foundation and is implemented by Save the Children in Kosovo.