1000 Londoners aims to capture the spirit of the city on film. Last week, a new film went live on 1000Londoners.com – Yllka Istrefi – the marathon-running classical pianist from Haringey.
Yllka is a Kosovan-born classical pianist living in North London who lived through the war in Kosovo in 1999 and subsequently moved to England. She studied at the Royal College of Music and has performed worldwide. She has recently accepted to become one of only 1,600 recognized Steinway Artists. Yllka is also a keen runner and has run at a range of marathons globally, including the 2015 London marathon.
This film is part of 1000 Londoners, the most in-depth and expansive documentary series ever produced about a city. Produced by Chocolate Films it comprises a digital channel focusing on creating video portraits of Londoners. You can visit www.1000londoners.com and watch a range of fascinating 3-minute stories.
DokuFest is an International Documentary and Short Film Festival held annually in the city of Prizren, Kosovo. With a selection of 200 carefully chosen films from around the world, the festival brings film producers, artists and a vibrant public to discuss topics ranging from economy, history and social change. This year (8-16th of August) , DokuFest is focused on the topic of migration. A phenomena that has been an inseparable part of the socio-economic and cultural identity of communities living in Kosovo. Still misunderstood, the festival seeks to address migration from a variety of angles and paint a clear picture on the relationship of Kosovars with migration.
Apart from critically acclaimed documentaries and short movies, a highlight of the festival Enri Canaj’s collection of photos from Syrian refugee camps in Greece. More importantly, the festival will host a number of events such as group discussions and photo galleries in order to better grasp the wide range of impact migration has.
Mentor Dida is a 24-year old recent graduate of the Arizona State University, where he finished both his Masters degree in technology and entrepreneurship and undergraduate studies in electronics engineering (alternative energy). He is currently a program coordinator at Ashoka Youth Venture in Washington D.C., an organization that empowers young people to create and launch their own enterprises.
A native of the city of Mitrovica, Mentor’s desire to drive change through technology and promotion of entrepreneurship for the youth has been visible in numerous initiatives in Kosovo and the United States. He is the co-founder of nonprofit organization Prosperity Initiative in Kosovo that encourages the country’s young people to participate in public service and community work to enhance youth’s role on decision making. “It is a clearing house for volunteers to start new social businesses,” Dida said. “We have workshops about entrepreneurship and philanthropy. There are a lot of problems in Kosovo, and a lot of opportunities for the people to help solve them.”
Prosperity Initiative’s first project is called Lokalizo, a digital mapping platform that utilizes online GIS mapping system for reporting community issues in Kosovo. The concept won best project at the Social Innovations Camp Kosovo, run by the UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo.
During his studies, Mentor was active in various activities including fundraising for poverty and homelessness projects and the Clinton Global Initiative University, where he got the chance to meet former President Clinton and discuss issues related to sustainable development in Kosovo.
Considering the high unemployment rate among the youth in Kosovo, Mentor thinks that a good education is the best tool to bring positive change and transform the community through entrepreneurship. He wants to use his knowledge and skills to turn young people into a catalyst for change by tackling poverty and development issues through innovative approaches.
Born in Sweden to Albanian parents from Macedonia, Drita Elezaj decided to pursue a rather unbeaten career path—she decided to become a medical physicist. After obtaining a Master’s Degree in Medical Physics from Lund University in Sweden, Drita started working at Harlev Hostpial. She commutes daily, one hour each way, from Sweden to Denmark where her job is located.
Drita interacts daily with cancer patients. Her job duties include quality assurance of the treatment machines and optimizing the planning of radiation treatments for patients. As a medical physicist, Drita is also responsible for the development of new treatments. Being involved and invested in this aspect of her job, in 2012 Drita participated in a conference organized by the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. She focused her research on how tumor shrinkage and weight loss affects the treatment plan for a specific treatment technique. Her study was presented as a poster and ultimately won the conference’s Best Poster Award. Additionally, Drita Elezaj’s has been featured in different journals and participated in several different conferences and professional meetings in different European countries.
In addition to an impressive career, Drita is a wife and a mother of two children. Being married to an Albanian from Kosovo, Drita says that educating her children about the Albanian roots, culture, and language is something of a high priority for her. In attempt to keep them familiarized with the culture, she tries to take her family to Kosovo at least once a year. Drita thinks that Kosovo’s beautiful nature and the peaceful feel that the surrounding mountains provide are additional incentives for her visits.
Drita’s love for Kosovo transcends simple visits. She explains that radiotherapy is, unfortunately, non-existent in Kosovo right now, and the patients have to travel to neighboring countries for their treatments. But, should the opportunity be given to her, Drita explains, “…I hope that in the near future Kosovo will establish a radiotherapy department, and, then, if there is any possibility, I am willing to help and cooperate.”