The classes began on October 3rd, with 25 women attending the Reflect circle. During the firstweek, we introduced the Albanian alphabet and started with personal presentation and learning some Roma names and surnames. The teacher had to identify which women could read or write and which couldn't at all. The women were sceptic at the beginning of class and even tended to demoralized the other women telling the others that learn reading and writing is a long and hard process. The teacher, the social worker and the local facilitators kept on explaining theproject and managed to convince women to attend at least some lessons and see for themselves if it's worth or not. This was a challenge for the project staff but we managed the situation and this first week together was a great success: some women even refused to have a coffee break because they wanted to finish an exercise!
And to give you an idea of what we did this first week, here are some examples of activities :
1- the teacher made the participants talk about their feelings. The participants worked in groups of 2 and had to tell each other one thing they are happy about, and one thing they are sad about. The teacher was the one to start the game as many women are a bit shy, so she tried to show that during the class the group can share anything and speak freely, which boosted their confidence! This was also a way to give an exapmle of how to express one's feelings as many women don't know how to talk in public and clearly express their point of view. The second objective of this exercise was for the teacher to invovle herself in the group since during the first class the women tended to talk only among themselves.
2- another version of this presentation game is using a ball and whenever a woman got the ball in her hands, she had to say something about herself.
At the beginning of these games, women found it hard to talk because they are not used to get so much attention and interest in public, but little by little, they opened up and shared the most interesting moments of their lives with us.