Brest i Poshtem, Albania


A sigh of relief in primary school and kindergarten

For the first time IPA has ventured the building of a new school. In Brest i Poshtem there was no alternative.


Agron Daci was shaking his head. "Even with the best will in the world I can not renovate this building any more." The engineer who works for our partner organisation Vizion O.J.F. said what the members of IPA also thought. The building was, like many others, in a deplorable condition. There were no toilets, no windows, and the roof was leaking. But it was the many deep cracks in the walls which showed clearly that a renovation would be pointless.

The four female teachers were listening attentively, but at that moment they lost hope almost completely. Nobody could guarantee that the roof would survive the coming winter. Were they really expected to carry on teaching under such inappropriate circumstances or even put their lives into danger?

Questions galore


The only alternative was to plan a new school building, but the big question was how to finance it. In order to comply with the wish of potential donors to keep costs low, the authorities were even willing to plan a building without toilets. The fear that one day in winter the roof might collapse and bury over ninety children beneath it forced them to consider such an option. When two foundations and a private donor finally offered to support the project, a building with three classrooms, a kindergarten and toilets could be contemplated. However, it meant that one of the four teachers would have to be dismissed. Now the president of the community took up the cudgels for her. He suggested, even though the community had already promised to make several contributions, to change the plans for the layout of the classrooms at their own expense. Would the politician keep his promise? And would it be possible, after all, to realise the project during the three-month summer holiday?

The village and the community stand side by side

The test came at the beginning of June. The community had agreed to pull down the old school building at their own expense. On the first day of the summer holiday the specialists arrived and a lot of villagers volunteered to do some of the simpler and easier work. Everyone gasped when they saw the rotten beams of the roof! Ten days later the first promise was kept. Twelve skilled workmen now began to erect the new building, still supported by motivated parents. The president of the community proved himself to be a reliable partner. He paid for the additional classroom wall as well as for most of the desks and chairs. When on September 10th the new school year started, the children were sitting in a completely new school building and the four teachers still had their jobs.

A relief for everybody

"God may reward you", a teacher said when an IPA team visited the school in October. Neither the villagers nor the parents need to worry about their children any longer. "The new school is a dream", an old man who used to be a teacher himself said – while an apparently proud president of the community was taking some pictures of the visitors from Switzerland.

Construction of a new school building