Story of a student from Finland who helped cancer sick children in Pristina

September 30, 2019 Regional and International, YMI News

My name is Terese Backlund and I am studying social policies master at Abo Academy in Finland.

I did an internship for Care for Kosovo kids in Pristina in June 2019. I wanted to support the organization and do something for the children who gets cancer treatment at the hospital. Together with the psychologist who is working with the children, we decided that I would start a toy campaign. I created a campaign on a finish website and friends, family and others gave money for 7 weeks. I raised a total of 1300 euro and bought toys, puzzles, coloring books, pens, storybooks, board games etc. and the toys and books were for children ages 1-17. The idea was to contribute with toys and other materials that will stay at the hospital so the children can use it when they are there and stay active and creative during their treatment periods. 

SIT- Center for Counseling, Social services and Research where I did my second internship helped me to reach my goal with the Toy Campaign. Thanks to SIT I did an interview for ZĂ«ri and that helped me to reach out to the citizens of Kosovo* who could also support the campaign. The government contacted the SIT office after the article and they also donated. For that amount, I bought storybooks because it is a good way for the parents to spend time with children and it helps children’s language development and supports their overall growth and development. When it was time to buy the toys and storybooks I got a discount from Vardem Toys Kosovo and Dukagjini Bookstore thanks to SIT who informed the two stores about my initiative. On the day when I visited the children at the hospital, my supervisor from Care for Kosovo kids (CfKK) and SIT staff joined me. This was a good opportunity for the two organizations to meet and discuss possibilities for future cooperation with. 

Since SIT is operating with “Be a Man Clubs” within Young Man Initiative project, it was a good opportunity to create synergy and have one of the members with us on the day we visited the hospital. Because of the infection risk for the children, we couldn’t invite all the youth who are a part of the project, but through the member who joined us, they can all get information about the children and in the future. In fact, the members of the Be a Man Club can together with SIT arrange some event to support the children with other materials or what is needed. This is a good way to create synergy between SIT, Care for Kosovo Kids and Be a Man Club and to involve the youth in helping others and to promote a healthy lifestyle. One of the staff members from SIT took pictures when we visited the children’s rooms to give the toys and that was very helpful so I could share pictures from the day with the people who helped me to reach my goal. 

I am very happy for a successful campaign and grateful to SIT, YMI project and everybody who helped me to make this possible. It was a good experience for me as a student in another country and I am grateful for the help I got to reach out to the citizens of Kosovo through SIT and Zeri.

Author: Terese Backlund

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