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Austin to Stanterg

Download Resources:

June 2006 Article in Austin Woman by Dita Heilman

Powerpoint presentation of 400 Voices Story

August 2005 Austin Woman Magazine Article

Article from Stanterg Newspaper

September 2004 Article from Westlake Picayune

March 2005 Flyer for Presentation to University of Texas at Austin ,Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

  Past to Present

Kosova, 1999

A region torn apart by war. 800,000 people given 1 week to flee, forced to leave their homes, communities, and way of life.

In the year 2000, residents of the Shala and Bajgora region returned home to begin to rebuild. Families and teachers of the town of Stanterg and surrounding villages were determined to re-open Trepca, the local school. Classes were first held in an unheated tent. Today the school has relocated to a converted shell of a building with wood-burning stoves and one outdoor latrine that serves 400 children and school staff.

Though lacking many basic supplies, a dedicated team of teachers remains committed to helping children learn so that they can help themselves and their country.

Texas, 2004 - Bridging Cultures

Austin resident Aferdita Dauti-Heilman grew up in the Stanterg. In October of 2004 she traveled back to Kosova for the first time, taking supplies and goodwill letters from local Austin students to the students of Trepca school. Her intention was to evaluate the needs of the local school and facilitate a cultural exchange between the children of Texas and those of Kosova. A volunteer with the Eanes History Center in Austin, Aferdita shared with the Trepca students many stories of Texas families, both past and present.

She knew the visit would be difficult, yet even 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 comprise what is left of her childhood community.

Aferdita has never been one to see injustice and do nothing. Her response to the situation in Stanterg was to found 400 Voices to build bridges between Kosova and Austin, and advocate to help rebuild the local school in Stanterg.