"Volunteering is love in motion" – the mural created by the students of "Jeta e Re" School in Suhareka

Written by: Erëza Kida

Publication date: 02.09.2021

Art and artistically beautiful artwork exhibited in public spaces give a positive image and influence in everyday life. In public spaces, there are boring objects that need an artistic hand. One form of art integration is through various murals - one such case was designing the mural in the “Jeta e Re” High School in Suhareka. The art expressed in this mural was an opportunity for students to be creative, and, throughout the process, they had the energy to create a colorful space that makes the school environment more fun.

Inauguration of the mural

In the spirit of continuous collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the USAID’s After School Support for teens (ASSET) Program joined this year’s Youth Month schedule by organizing the mural creation activity. The aim was to promote the volunteer work of the students in the Program’s partner schools.

The idea of this activity started with a two-day workshop led by designer Taulant Qerkini. In this session, students learned about the art of murals, painting, and spray techniques. The designer and students shared their concept ideas for the design of the mural. The teens applied the gained knowledge and worked together for two more days, mentored by the designer Taulant Qerkini and Jeta e Re School art teacher Fatmir Bajraktari.

During this process, we witnessed the enthusiasm and creativity of the teens through a variety of colors and shapes painted over the mural, which has elements that identify the Suhareka city. When we look at the mural, we can perceive the art associated with vineyards - the most widespread agricultural activity in the Suhareka region; the round patterns symbolize grapes, while its leaves with natural tones and colors give the overall impression of the vineyard culture. The stars represent students and their voluntary commitment to creating an inclusive environment. Also, the blue spheres represent the river of the city. Designer Taulant Qerkini said that the whole process in designing the mural reflected the students' ideas. The expression "Volunteering is love in motion" completed the design.

The ceremony of the mural inauguration emphasized the end of Youth Month, held on August 27th, 2021. Present at the inauguration ceremony were the Minister of MCYS, Mr. Hajrulla Çeku; Program Director, Mrs. Valmira Haxhaj Gushlla; Municipal Director of Education, Mr. Remzi Bajselmani; and school staff delegates

The realization of this activity was successful, not only in the involvement and engagement of students but also in inspiring ideas for similar initiatives in other schools in the country. In his speech, the Minister of Culture said that he was inspired and motivated by the mural and concluded that this activity should be a national initiative. He invited the participants to gather and work on a program from which other schools in Kosovo can benefit. The Minister said that this event is of interest for the integration of art & design in schools.

"It is not just an artistic intervention but more than that. It means putting arts in a broader context. You have inspired us to design a program that mobilizes students to participate in artistic interventions in school ", said Minister Çeku.

The purpose of these activities is to provide students with different extracurricular activities. After the ceremony Minister Çeku also visited the "Makerspace" corner, established by the ASSET Program, information on Makerspace was presented by the Program Director. Surprised by the modern technology equipment in this space, he proclaimed that these activities that combine science with practical work are beneficial for students. All this results in the making of various products that promote and stimulate students' creativity.

“In this activity, we have also included students of the Technicians and Career Clubs, founded by the ASSET Program, members of which voluntarily organize activities for their peers. Through this mural, these students have shown how volunteering affects the community”, said the Program Director, Mrs. Valmira Haxhaj - Gushlla.

In the end, the Director of Education, Mr. Bajselmani, expressed his willingness to continue designing murals in other schools in Suhareka, which would improve artistic spaces in schools.

"This artwork is good and inspiring for teenage students. I hope to have murals in other schools as well," said Mr. Remzi Bajselmani.

Erëza Kida has completed her studies at the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering - FIEK, at the University of Prishtina "Hasan Prishtina", and is continuing her master degree for Management and Informatics at the University of Prishtina. Currently she is engaged as intern with the USAID After School Support for Teens Program. This article is written from their observations and discussions with the team and the author views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.