When I first joined I was very shy and very unsocial. I didn't speak to anyone, didn't ask for help and didn't make any friends
At home me and my family wouldn't speak with each other especially since I had a very low knowledge in the Albanian language. I wouldn't communicate at all. We were slowly drifting apart. When we joined Shpresa they really helped my mum out, at the time she suffered from epilepsy and depression and had difficulty speaking the English language.
They provided my mum with women's therapy and English language courses for her to get better knowledge. For me there were many activities; Albanian classes, Albanian dancing and mentoring. Mentoring was a great experience and it really helped me come out of my shy self and become a very social and welcoming person. I wouldn't be afraid to ask for help my mentor was always there for me and guided me through things I struggled with.
My Albanian knowledge slowly grew and I could read write and speak very basic things. As the years went by I started taking a very big interest in Albanian poetry. Many people thought because I was born in England and had very few knowledge of the Albanian language didn't believe I could recite an Albanian poem. But Shpresa helped me and now I have performed in many places; at the House of Commons, 02 arena, Albanian Embassy, community events and many more.
I now am one of the young leaders at Shpresa, currently I have a small group to whom I teach Albanian dancing at Mayfield School every Sunday for children and young people. I have also finished my mentoring and leadership training so that I can help out young people that haven't found their feet yet just how I felt when I first arrived.
I am trying to raise money so that we can get the Albanian language as a GCSE. My brother was one of the young people who started this campaign 5 years ago and as this opportunity may not be for him or even for me but I’m doing this for my younger sister so she has the chance as well as the next generation to have that as a subject in school and not to forget their mother tongue.
I am going to learn 10 classic Albanian poetry in Albanian and in English and record them aswell in hope of raising my goal of £2000
Thankyou everyone Aida