Tirana, 13 December 2018 – Liljana Luani, the teacher who won the National Teacher Prize "Teacher of the Year 2018" in Albania, was selected among the 50 teachers’ finalists in the world competing for the Global Teacher Prize.
Luani, a teacher from Shkodra, in north of the country, competed this year in the category "Teachers advocating for the Right to Education" and was voted the “Teacher of the Year 2018” in Albania. As the winner of the Teachers Prize in Albania she also decided to compete for the Global Teacher Prize of Varkey Foundation. Global Teacher Prize, who has been evaluate by the media as "Nobel Prize in Teaching", is an initiative taken by the Varkey Foundation, which assesses the teaching profession and reveals thousands of teachers’ stories who have contributed to the transformation of children and youth lives. Global Teacher Prize expresses gratitude for the work that millions of teachers do across the globe. The Global Teacher Prize is a prize of $ 1 million USD, which is award to a teacher who has made an extraordinary contribution to his profession.
The Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE), Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA), and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, congratulate our winner for making to the 50 finalists of the competition.
PROFILE OF LILJANA LUANI
Liljana has been working as a teacher for 37 years, and since 2005, she has been a major force in the education of children whose families are involved in blood revenge.
Blood revenge͟ is a tradition of pursuing redress according to old Albanian laws, mostly used by families in the highlands. If a member of your family is killed by someone, these traditions allow you to kill a member of that person’s family, who may be entirely unconnected with the killing. Children are not exempt from this harsh custom. This means that if blood revenge is intended, children may have to be confined in a safe place, unable to attend school freely, which in turn leads to a lack of education and socialisation. In addition, unemployment and the lack of integration and healthcare are serious problems for these families. In Dukagjin highland, where Liljana teaches, blood revenge is a serious issue – perhaps the biggest problem in the community. However, Liljana is convinced that the education of these children is the strongest weapon in the war against this misfortune.
Since 2005, Liljana has volunteered her own time to educate children whose families are involved in blood revenge.
She started collecting information about confined children who did not attend school, and after work, went from door to door teaching them voluntarily. It was not easy, as Liljana also had obligations to her own family, and the work required a good deal of travelling on minibuses and boats. Sometimes she has had to walk for hours to work with sad, nervous, stressed and frightened children, who were often sick. Despite these circumstances she has tried to created warm and welcoming conditions for pupils to develop and actively learn.
Liljana has also collaborated with the police and government in an attempt to give the confined children almost the same privileges as others. The needs of these children have been heard for the first time by the government due to Liljana’s insistence, and many children have been able to take exams under police escort due to Liljana’s efforts when they would not have been able to do so otherwise.
In 2014, the New Horizon Centre in cooperation with the Ministry of Education awarded Liljana the Golden Rose for her contribution to educating confined children; and in 2017 the US Embassy awarded her the ͞Woman of Courage͟. If awarded the Global Teacher Prize, Liljana will open a multifunctional centre where she will educate confined children, orphan children, and other children that don’t attend school regularly. This centre will have technology classes, computers, sports and art classes that will allow all children to improve their talents.