Our correspondent went last Saturday to follow the lessons of the Albanian school of Parma, talk to the teachers and the parents of the little students who every Saturday afternoon from 15 to 18 commit themselves to learn more about their roots. The initiative, inaugurated on 24 last October, is the result of the work of the members of the Scanderbeg Association of Parma.
di Darina Zeqiri Aldrovandi
In the streets of Parma it happens that we often meet people you think are Parmesans doc. They have the same behavior as those who know where it is and where it is directed, the same accent, and often speak in dialect. As a worthy globalized society would like, maybe they were born in Parma, they may even have Parmesan parents but they originate from cultures that are often very far from the Italian one. And among them there are thousands of Albanian citizens. Immigrant men and women, who have created their families here in Parma, raise their children in full harmony with those of Italian citizens, and that no one would recognize as foreigners if they were not themselves as such. An Albanian community in Parma among the most numerous in Italy, with more than five thousand residents scattered throughout the province. At a time when many doubts arise about the question of a possible integration between cultures, the Albanian community in Parma gives very different examples from those highlighted by the news.
In fact, the incessant commitment of the voluntary work group of the Albanian Association "Scanderbeg" in Parma, thanks also to the help of the parish of San Lazzaro, has made it possible to achieve an enormous goal that further demonstrates the excellent relationship built in the years between the two cultures. Parma is now home to the first Albanian school in Emilia-Romagna. A real school, with real teachers, dedicated to the little Albanians between the ages of seven and thirteen, born in Italy. Located in one of the classrooms of the Vittorio Alfieri Institute in Parma, today it hosts more than twenty children. We went to "spy" on a Saturday afternoon, loaded with recorders and video cameras, the three hours of lessons held by the school's director, as well as a journalist and one of the creators of this admirable initiative, Anila Kadija.
They are precise 15, children are accompanied by their parents. All excited, all enthusiastic. The little ones will perhaps never know how to read that emotion in the eyes of their parents that has not escaped our attention, perhaps because they will never be forced to leave their country in search of a better life, perhaps they will never be foreigners or they will never feel excluded and misunderstood. But in those eyes shining with emotion, the pride of being Albanians shone through, of representing the land of the eagles, the village of Scanderbeg, the hero who introduced Albania to the world, fighting and fighting the Ottoman Empire. An almost contagious pride. They made it. The story of the sad immigrant will be told by parents to the little ones with a different ending. Because they have worked hard, they have respected the rules and the culture of the host country, and today, right now that they can even be confused among the Parmesans, they have obtained with the moral support of the high municipal offices in Parma a space where they can transmit to the children the culture, the tradition and the Albanian language.
The children bring with them the folders given by the Scanderbeg Association, with the alphabet book and books on fables and Albanian poems. One by one they slowly enter the classroom, settle in their seats, greet and respond to the call. Thus they begin to pull out their notebooks full of homework done. They are in their first steps with Albanian history, geography, literature, language and dance. They have at their disposal full-time Anila Kadija, Brunilda Hoxha, Linda Pjeçi, Adriana Rushiti and helpers Albert Bekja, Lindita Sota, Durim Lika, Elvira Lika, who offered themselves completely free to support the project of this school. Almost all of them are professional teachers, graduates in Albania, but only some of them continue to practice it also in Italy. "This school - says Durim Lika, president of the Scanderbeg Association - is the result of a long work done together with the 280 members of the association. Everyone, according to their possibilities, stealing a few hours a day from their family, committed themselves to the realization of what seemed impossible. "Every euro invested in this dream come true is the fruit of the heart of the associates. Men and women, parents of Parmesan children who want to let their children know their roots. "Because - as Anila Kadija tells us - there can be no integration if you don't know your culture" "For us, - tells us Shpendi Ndreu, parent of two of the school's schools and also the creator of the school - it is a dream that comes true. We are all perfectly integrated, our children were born in this wonderful country, but we were afraid of not being able to teach them to speak the mother tongue correctly ”. Ndreu is also president of "Lira srl", one of the most important companies in the deboning sector of hams, and thanks to its significant donations it has made it possible for the Scanderbeg Association to carry out its initiatives. "Often, - continues Ardian Kurti, father of another girl who attends school, - we try to teach our children little nursery rhymes in Albanian, or passages from our folk dances, but unfortunately not always successfully. This school will instead ensure that all the children of Albanian parents can learn to know their origins ”. We return to class, leaving them in the corridor leaning against a chair to wait for the end of the lessons and take their children home. And between a review of history and the reproaches of prof. TO.
Kadija for the sometimes wrong pronunciations, we decide to move away and let the children continue in peace this beautiful journey to their roots that will lead them one day to know each other better and be better.
At the last, however, it was impossible for us not to be captured by the greetings expressed by the children in Albanian. Perhaps with an uncertain Parmesan accent but careful to pronounce in the best possible way all the thirty-six letters of their mother tongue.
Best of luck!