She is one of the 2006-Winners of the WWSF Prize.
Her motto: “Go to the people, love them, live with them, learn from them. Start with what they know, build with what they have, and with the best leaders. When the work is done, the people will say: we did this ourselves”, (Lao Tzu).
Video in albanian language: 5 – Shtepia e Shqiptarit – AANO dhe AAWO – si mund te ndihmo, 4.47 min, October 12, 2007.
Marta Prekpalaj – Kosovo
She works for Motrat Qiriazi.
Marta’s whole life is a living illustration of this (Lao Tzu’s) famous statement. Born in 1967 in the village of Zym in the isolated mountainous Has region on the Albanian border, she had to fight to go to secondary school, a two hour walk from her home which girls were not permitted to do.
At 23, she became involved in a literacy campaign and soon after cofounded an association for the education of women, Motrat Qiriazi, becoming in 1995 the first woman school director of her region.
Lao Tzu’s statement became the working motto of Motrat Qiriazi. From the start, all members of the community were invited to the meetings.
However, as in this profoundly patriarchal culture, women did not speak much in the meetings, Marta started by organizing separate meetings for women. When the whole community came together again, women were for the first time capable of not only clearly defining their needs, but defending them too.
Somewhat unique among women activists, Marta included men in her work, fully realizing that no gender equality could exist without their willing participation.
She has supported women regardless of ethnicity, political or other affiliations that so often divide women. She linked with Serbian women (”the enemy”) during the civil war, even Roma.
She has served as a role model for rural girls, working side by side with them to reduce child marriage, dowries, lack off access to schools.
Under the oppressive Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic, Marta’s activism entailed immense risk to her personal safety. For instance, she set up libraries and clinics when both were illegal.
Her impact on her region is immense, she has established 3 secondary schools, 11 libraries, getting roads paved, creating 2 community centres, to mention a few initiatives that have transformed this essentially rural area of Kosovo. (Women’s Creativity in rural lifes/list and laureates 2006, scroll down to her name and click on ’see profile’. See also their homepage).
(WWSF writes: To express our deep solidarity with Africa’s women community leaders, and thanks to the contribution from the New Field Foundation received in 2006, WWSF is able to award this year four of the African Laureates with a prize of USD$ 3000.- each. All other Laureates continue to receive US$ 500.- per prizewinner).
Open Letter To UN Special Envoy for the Future Status Process for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, Regarding Kosovo Status Talks and Women’s Participation: To: UN Special Envoy for the Future Status Process for Kosovo, Mr Martti Ahtisaari (Stockholm, Sweden, 16 January 2006).
texts in albanian laguage:
Marta Prekpalaj, DA SAM NASTAVILA ŠKOLOVANJE.
KTORIUM I OJQ-ve TË GRAVE NË KOSOVË / DIRECTORY OF WOMEN NGOs IN KOSOVA, 350 pdf-pages;
Women, Peace and Security Initiatives: Kosovo, campaigns for women in Kosovo, lead by Peacewomen.org;
Websourcelist about SERBIA – Montenegro – YUGOSLAVIA;
Monitoring Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in Kosovo, 76 pdf-pages;
Kosovar Women’s Voice, 2004/04;
Kosovar Women’s Voice, 2005/02;
KWN VOICES: Your link to the Women of Kosova, Issue 5 – May 6, 2003;
autonomous women’s center, belgrade / former sisters unite;