It has been three years since Arbërita crossed paths with PLAY International. “I feel exiting to go through old memories” she admits “but I don’t get too many chances to share those memories with people.” Now she lives and works in Finland. Arbërita's voice comes to me through the Zoom app, but her way of talking and her life gives me the impression that I am talking to a girl who has gone through a sensational life with many experiences. Arbërita tells me that she has had a good day at work and that she is happy to do this interview with me.
Once we discussed about her day, we go back to the start of her experience with PLAY. “I was just 13 when I joined PLAY, and I was the youngest volunteer. At that time, it wasn’t allowed for youngsters under 16 to be part of the project, but seeing how regular I was in all the organized activities, responsible, and how children were listening to me they decided to make me part of the team of volunteers in Peja.”
Her voice shows how happy she has been to be accepted as a volunteer. This for the fact that as Arbërita says "at that time PLAY was very famous and people knew it as Sport Sans Frontières. They still remember the balls we distributed to the children of Kosovo."
Arbërita, at that time, was a volunteer only for the schools of Peja. For her, it was a pleasure to involve the communities in sports activities. “I became part of the neighborhood groups of children. It was enough to tell the leader of the group that we would have an activity next week, and he/she would spread the news to the other children” For her, volunteering life was simpler when she began in 2012/2013. “We worked with children who were still playing outside in the neighborhood and could not wait for our activities. By the end of the project came generations of phones and courses and, everything started to change.” When asked how she feels about her experience with PLAY, she is quick to answer. “Five years of an amazing experience, with good memories. For five years, we have become a company, a family.”
An hour of the interview went by too fast, as she seems to find other things to say. Arbërita doesn't look like she is the kind of person that she can forget to mention the best part of her experience: children. "Games have been very interesting for children, because children have not played such games before, much less get an education through sports. All the children had always smiling faces when they came and when they left the activity. They motivated us to do better". At the end, she mentions how PLAY has helped her on changing the way how she saw people, and sports. "Through the activities where we have learned how to be a leader, animator, assistant, we have also learned how the stages of life go to get me somewhere. How can you use sport to change your mood, the idea of the role of sport, that to play with someone the only important thing is to be firstly a human? Through games, we have been able to understand that you have to be ready to challenge the two sides that life offers."
Thank you Arbërita for sharing this amazing experience with us, and we hope you continue making a change in other people's lives as you did for the children in Peja.