Covid19 changed our plans, our future and our perceptions of what will be six months from now. I can say that I used to see my life all planned and straight like everyone else. I knew where I was going. Not that today I don’t but the pandemic forced us to review our little lifeplans and made me realize that not everything that is planned will go fine and not everything unplanned will go wrong. Before going on with my blabla I quickly present myself: I am a 24 years old student currently in the first year of my master’s degree in clinical psychology. After my Bachelor graduation this summer (yep on Zoom) I took a break and started my Master this February while being in Kosovë. The plan was to come back in Switzerland after 10 days, but the plan failed. I stayed in Kosovë. And this is how I ended up taking part in a volunteer job in my own country thanks to online courses. I can finally admit that covid19 created new opportunities, yes.
I always wanted to know what it was like to be an albanian citizen, a real one and not just a “shac” or more recently “gërrnaq” who spends the summer or winter holidays there and flies back to his privileged sweet country. I wanted to live among them, to endure the same difficulties they have to face every day, to understand why they see no perspective in their country and want to fly away. Some of my questions were answered some others not and new questions took place. I can say that I deconstructed some of my ideas about my compatriots living there and learned a lot from them. I can definitely affirm that I am truly and happily impressed by my own people out there. The effort and passion they put in their work despite everything leaves me speechless and teaches me a big lesson.
I had the opportunity to do volunteer work in my own field, psychology. I got engaged at Linja e Jetës (the line of life) which is the first center for suicide prevention in Kosovo.
Linja e Jetës was created in 2019 by some students from QIPS (the center for information and social improvement) who invested their free time on developing this beautiful project. Linja e Jetës works as a hotline and if you call 0800 12345 from 6PM to 2AM everyday one of the 32 trained volunteers will answer your call and listen to you without any judgment. In addition, a supervisor, who is a licensed psychologist, is present to help the volunteer during the call if she or he needs help and after the call if emotions are hard to process. Moreover, every month there is a group therapy where volunteers can go to release their emotions from what they might have been through during the calls. Something important that I have to mention is confidentiality. People calling the hotline do not know who speaks with them and the volunteer neither, the number or location are not shown to guarantee the most anonymity as possible. This point is very important because this is what allows people to feel free and secure to express themselves and not feel judged. Having had the opportunity to work with the incredible team of 32 volunteers was something I will never forget. This experience showed me how my albanian youth is determined, hardworking and ambitious to create a new image of Kosovë and it shows already ! It makes me proud to see that in a small country where mental health is still very stigmatized there are people willing to change things.
If you want to know more about Linja e Jetës you can find them on Instagram @linja_e_jetes or Facebook or if you prefer you can directly write to me, I will answer your questions with pleasure. Now if you know somebody in your family or friend in Kosovë who you think needs to speak to someone just give him or her the number of Linja e Jetës.
Lastly, if you have the opportunity of living in Kosovë just do it, it can help you answer the question “A ma mirë ktu a atje ?”
Author : Ardiana Dacaj