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15 July 2023 - Story

The Inspiring Story of Elsa

Elsa is a 22-year-old girl, who lives with her parents, her two brothers, and her sister in Gjakova. In 2021 she has graduated from High School in Medical Science. Two (2) months ago, she started attending the Tailoring Training Programme at the Vocational Training Center in Gjakova, as a full-time trainee. Elsa has always aspired to become a tailor and she was very excited when she heard about this training opportunity. 

“Since the first day, I have felt very welcome and very well. I knew right away that this is what I want to do.”  

A very important pillar of this programme is being inclusive and creating an environment for trainees to socialize and cooperate with each other. Elsa says she is lucky to be surrounded by colleagues who support and encourage her which has made her adaption process very smooth and quick. 

“In the beginning, it was a little difficult to learn the techniques, but because of the full support of my trainer and my colleagues, I surpassed them very easily. This place feels like a second home and family.”

Fatmire, the professional trainer, has been very impressed with Elsa’s commitment and progress throughout the programme.

Elsa is very dedicated and it shows that she really loves what she does. She is very detailed-oriented and persistent. She always goes the extra mile to perfect a tailoring technique and doesn’t give up until she reaches that.”

Elsa is very attached to her mother, Lumnije, who works full-time as a cook. She says that Elsa’s life has changed a lot during this past year because she has begun to be more open to other people and felt more motivated because she has found her passion. 

“Three years ago, Elsa became very isolated. She was not willing to go out or talk to anyone. She had the impression that everyone was bad-mouthing her and I think this was due to her experiencing bullying at school. She did not go out for three months. This is when we decided to send Elsa to therapy, where she received psycho-social and psychological support, individual and group treatment as well as independent living skills.”

From there, she started to become more social with other people and started showing interest in dancing, acting, and poetry. She became more independent, and now she can easily attend the training programme on her own.

This training programme lasts three (3) months and has 10 modules in total. Elsa has finished four (4) modules until now and has one (1) more month left to finish the programme. After each module is completed, there is a written and practical exam that the trainees have to pass in order to move on to the next module. Elsa has finished all the tests on her own successfully. She excelled in all her exams but particularly in the practical ones” – says Fatmire, the programme trainer. 

Fatmire considers Save the Children’s intervention as one of the main steps to prepare and integrate youth with disabilities into the labour market.

After Elsa finishes the programme, I have no doubt that she will have the necessary skills and capacity to be employed in a textile fabric or alteration store to gain more experience. She is very attentive, motivated, and responsible, so all she needs is experience."

Elsa’s mother, Lumnije, is also looking forward to Elsa’s employment possibilities being open and for potential employers being as inclusive as her colleagues and the trainer has been.

“I really think this was a very good experience for Elsa, and I hope this will open her doors for being employed because I wouldn’t want her to get isolated as she did three years ago. She has changed completely since she started doing what she loves and being surrounded by people who accept her as she is”.

Elsa remains very positive and shares her dream of one day opening her own Alteration and Tailoring Shop.

“After I finish the training course and gain a little bit of experience, I will open my own Alteration and Tailoring Shop. In this way I would do what I love and become independent.”