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  • Writer's pictureelizabethgowing

Rexhep's story: the future police officer at kindergarten

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Addition, subtraction; the numbers up to ten, says Rexhep, He is reminiscing with a smile about his time in kindergarten at The Ideas Partnership’s centre in Fushe Kosove. And my teacher called Arta.’

Rexhep is just one of a total of 311 children who have been educated at The Ideas Partnership (TIP)’s kindergarten since it opened in Fushe Kosove nearly five years ago. He has now moved on to primary school and is confident and clear about what the benefits of support from TIP have been.

Rexhep’s father works as a woodcutter in winter. He left school in fourth grade while Rexhep's mum dropped out in the eighth grade. But Rexhep is ambitious. He says that English is his favourite subject at school and that he wants to go to university to study English. After that he plans to become a police officer. His reasons for the career choice have the clarity of someone with powerful secondhand experience of what it involves – I want to be a policeman because you have good colleagues and when you catch a thief you have to put them in prison; when there’s a case you have to go and investigate. You get to exercise. And you get a gun’.

It’s no surprise to hear that he has an uncle in the force.

But what about the English he has learned. Where has that come from? I learned English through doing Reading Together online,’ he says, referring to the programme TIP’s run with UK volunteers via Skype. There are other volunteers he fondly mentions by name as well – a Kosovar Bosnian who helped him at our centre, and four Kosovar Albanian volunteers who were part of The Ideas Partnership's summer camp Rexhep attended in July. ‘We made food. Our team got second place!’

When I ask him what other things he thinks he’s benefited from the education he’s received at the centre he is wonderfully all-encompassing and then carefully sincere. 

‘You learn at the centre and then you go to school and when the teacher asks you, you know the answer. Now I know the times tables…. Though not the sevens and eights.’

I admit that they are the toughest ones.

And there are other benefits he can identify from the centre.

'I got a school bag and a sketchbook. If someone has a broken bag and you give them a new one you make them happy.

'I also remember that Hysni gave me a woolly hat that you had brought back for all the children from England. I want to say thank you to the person who made that hat just for me.’

Thanks from us, as well, to all those volunteers and donors who have supported Rexhep and his friends at our kindergarten and in the other activities we run through our centre. Along with a future Kosovan police officer, we salute you.

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