After losing her husband at a very young age, Remzije Berisha was left alone with her five children and without any income or support. Yet, she found the strength to move forward, recalls her friend and colleague Zoje Shala, WfWI-Kosovo's Senior Life Skills Trainer.WfWI-Kosovo's Social Empowerment
Manager Zoje Shala is inspired by her
friend Remzije Berisha.
With International Women's Day on March 8, Zoje and her colleagues at Women for Women International are celebrating incredible and inspiring women like Remzije, at home and around the world.
"I would describe her as a woman with a lot of courage, patience and desire to learn new things," says Zoje. “There are lots of women in our programs who inspire me,” but to her, Remzije stands out.
Before Remzije joined WfWI’s program, "she was a very traditional housewife who rarely left the house," she adds. The need to provide for her family forced her to change her life, and take on new challenges.
In Kosovo, women like Remzije face many barriers to earning an income, from lack of educational opportunities to discrimination in hiring and in the workplace. Unemployment for women stands around 40 percent, while the national unemployment rate is 31 percent. For many women, their role as a housewife is incredibly isolating, particularly in rural areas where women often have few opportunities to leave their homes. Unable to leave their home to work, many women and their families struggle with poverty.
But, Zoje says, Remzije had courage and was able to break those barriers. "She enrolled in and attended the WfWI program. After she graduated, she was hired by WfWI. Now she can care for her own children and can afford to pay for their schooling, too.
"She cares about many of the other women in her community and has convinced many of them to participate in our programs, encouraging them to the keep attending the trainings and graduate. She has also founded an association in her municipality, and many women take part and organize different activities together."
Remzije is just one of the many people Zoje is inspired by. She says she enjoys the team work with the women in our programs and with her colleagues like Berisha. "I feel lucky to be part of the WfWI staff...During the training sessions, the women come up with lots of ideas, which I discuss with my colleagues in the office and try to think of ways to implement these ideas in the future. For example, one idea was to have training groups from two different villages meet to share their experiences. Ideas like these from the field are making the program more innovative and attractive."
Hear from Remzije Berisha about the woman who inspires her!