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Austin to Stanterg
Friends of 400 Voices

Austin, Texas

Aferdita Dauti-Heilman, Founder

Liz Carpenter

Leslie Davis

Davida Dragon

Brigitte Edery

Dede Hurson

Kala Philo,
Video Producer and Filmmaker,
Walkie Talkie Productions, LLC

Alan Pogue

Bobby WrightHeidi Shalev

Westlake, Texas is now a sister city to Stanterg, Kosova

400 Voices

Shpend and Besa Feka

and many more, including you!

400 Voices honors the memory of Teacher
Fakete Rizvanolli, who inspired and fueled the goodwill of our project

  Local effort, on two continents

We light our candles so we and others may see. You lit your candle and now there will be a school where there was none before. This is also an example for others. We must do what we can where we are."

-Alan Pogue

Aferdita Dauti-Heilman formed 400 Voices in response to her own passion for education and bridging cultures and to the situation she encountered in Stanterg at the Trepca School.

She is supported in this project by many people in diverse ways. If you would like to be involved in building the bridge between Stanterg and Austin, please contact Aferdita at mailto:ditakosovare@yahoo.com

About Aferdita

"The moment I met Dita, I knew we would be close friends. She has a magnetic personality, an incisive mind, and a generous heart that is always open. In the years I've known her, Dita has championed many worthy causes, and faced a host of challenges, always rising to the occasion."

- Brigitte Edery

Aferdita Heilman-Dauti currently resides in Austin Texas, but was born in the village of Stanerg in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Aferdita is a mother and a long time volunteer in her local and global community, most recently working with refugee resettlement in Austin, as a volunteer for the Eanes History Center, and as a member of the Central Texas Storytelling Guild.

In 2004 she visited her hometown of Stanterg, Kosova, for the first time since the war. Aferdita’s years of experience in social work and refugee services did not prepare her for the emotional impact of going home again. This time, the town ravaged by war is her own; the people in need are what is left of her childhood community. The war destroyed many businesses and the fabric of the town's culture: library, theater, community center, and of course, Aferdita's childhood school.

Aferdita says, "I felt overwhelmed, and I did sit and cry. But I wanted to show my children that we do not just sit and cry when we see a need, but we pick ourselves up and do something to help."

Aferdita comes from a long line of educators. The impulse to serve through teaching and lead by example is a family trait. The principal and 4 of the teachers at the Trepca school were students of her parents, providing a rare thread of constancy unbroken by war.

Aferdita's unique perspective has enabled her to envision 400 voices as more than just an aid organization for a school - she sees it as a way to make small but important connections between children from different communities so that they may see the that, in spite of differences of culture and circumstance, we all share much common ground.