Stories from YMCA Kosovo

Date: 04 May 2022

Fiona Meqa

My name is Fiona Meqa, I’m 15 years old and live in Gjakova, Kosovo. I have been part of YMCA for nearly two years now and my journey has been the best. I’ve been involved with various initiatives within the YMCA and I am completing my second level of leadership training. 

I am a very competitive and curious person, which has led me to try new things and take every opportunity I have ever had.hen the YMCA introduced us to the HP courses, I couldn’t have been more excited to try them. With Help from the staff at the learning lab, I got the hang of using the website and started the courses. 

So far I’ve finished four courses: Effective Leadership, Design Thinking, Success Mindset, and Business Email. The staff recommended some of these courses, others I selected to help me with my future career. All four of the courses were very hands-on and allowed me to share my thoughts and opinions while gaining knowledge on new topics. For example, I’ve learned the steps of opening a personal business, how to start a project idea by using different methods and how to structure an email.

When I attended the YMCA learning Lab, it was a very motivating and welcoming place. The  staff not only presented the courses but would help us navigate the website and even help those without emails. In my honest opinion, the courses in the lab reflected my needs and interests and was a new way of gaining knowledge through an e-learning platform.

I believe these courses will help me move towards my desired career. I have already started using some of the methods from these courses to help me make decisions for my future path. The courses really challenged some of my opinions on decision-making and gaining knowledge like professional email writing is something lacking from school here!


I would recommend doing a HP course at the Learning Lab to youth! Just do it!


Avnora Morina

My name is Avnora Morina from Kosovo, and I have been with the YMCA since 2013 originally as a volunteer and participant now as a full time staff member. I work in the youth department where the main focus of the movement is empowering young people through different engagement programmes. My work is mainly focused on youth empowerment, where I work with more than 300 young people that come to the YMCA youth centers on a weekly basis.

 Recently I have been involved in the YMCA Lab, which is a space where young people (from ages 14-18 year old) come and complete HP courses. I manage technology including laptops, headphones, internet access, instant printed certificates, email set-up and guiding course instruction.  

Many young people don’t have an email and many of our participants do not speak English so I also translate and guide them through these processes. Furthemore, I come from a minority ethnical group in Kosovo, which is the Egyptian community. Through my experience and observations, many don’t have access to the internet or technology resources, due to the economical situation that this community finds itself in and the lack of  meaningful participation and safe integration. 

I feel it is my personal and professional duty to encourage these young people coming from minorities and work with them at the YMCA Lab. Over the pilot phase of this project, I had the chance to bring youth from the communities, where they completed HP-Courses, such as Effective Leadership and Success Mindset. They were also interested in other courses, such as 3D printing,which they will finish in the coming weeks.

Our YMCA sees 3D printing as integral to the future of work, not just because its a cool concept but as technology continues to evolve, it’s incredible for HP students to have access to this technology, which would be extremely hard for those outside of the class.

YMCA is giving young people the space and the resources needed for them to finish HP-life courses in a safe environment. Most schools in Kosovo lack internet access, laptops,  or technological infrastructure, therefore through the YMCA Lab young people are able to develop professionally and enrich their CVs. Altogether, we want to act as an inspiration for those youth wanting more. 

It is always good to see young people learning something new, in a safe environment. I am glad that through YMCA Lab methodology, we are offering young people a unique space and the support network to progress personally. I believe having the additional support helps young people,  especially those who have already experienced setbacks.