Creating Society with Dance project was created in 2015 with one agenda on my mind and that was to help and give young people of Albania from all backgrounds a chance to have access to more opportunities.
With the incredible help from Jayne Connell and the whole of Interstate Team a draft copy of the project was created by them which allowed to work on and create the final draft and complete it. With no contacts to the Albanian government officials or Foundations I started to reach out to various organisations.
My first outreach was to the Albanian embassy here in London to ensure I get an invite and present my project to them with the possibility to send me in the right direction closer to making this project become a reality. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way and it was going to be a lot harder than I thought to achieve this vision. I received no correspondence from the Albanian embassy. I then decided to contact local and regional members of charities, foundations and organisations in Albania which I received a number of replies but nothing serious with no progress of achieving the goal.
Months have passed and I was still in the same position when I started with no new contacts or a step closer but I was determent to make it happen no matter how long it will take me. I soon got talking to a person which was the Director of an organisation In Albania and was set up by a close friend of mine. I discussed my project vision with him and if he can possibly send me in the right direction or put me in contact with any government officials. He thought the idea was great and he offered to help and get me in contact with the right people. Nearly a month past and I didn't hear back from him until I noticed a flyer being advertised on social media for an event organised by his organisations. The event had a number of elements from my project which I discussed with him in discretion. I was shocked and disappointed to find out but I didn't let it affect me as my vision was original and organic and it was designed to benefit communities and not an organisation.
Months passed and I was at a family gathering and I was discussing my project progress with a family friend and informing him that I had no luck getting my project proposal read or get in touch with an organisation and was finding it hard to achieve this mission.
Surprisingly he informed me he had a close friend that works in the government in Albania and possibly can help me.
This was amazing, few days later he put us in contact and I sent my Project proposal to him and was informed he will get this to an organisation that might be interested. A week past and I received the news I been waiting for, The director of Multidisciplinary Arts Movement Ema Andrea is very interested in working together, she is also happy to apply for funding as an NGO organisation from Albania. This was amazing news as having a limited company being based in London I was restricted on applying for funding abroad, having an actual NGO based in Albania support this project and also was willing to apply for funding on my behalf was incredible. This news was overwhelming and a massive relief as I was finally getting my project seen and a big possibility of the project taking place and being funded.
Ema Andrea the director of M.A.M was keen on supporting Creating Society with Dance project as she saw the impact it will have to the young people in Albania and was more than happy to stand behind the believe and vision of the project. With Ema’s contacts in the in the government she managed to gain us numerous in-kind support from organisations and government official's which would allow us full access of the use of facilities of major venues, locations within the capitals open space, in-kind support from local authorities, volunteers from local community groups, equipment and first Aiders from the capitals University of Sports in Tirana. They all backed the project and supported the project. This was unbelievable, receiving all this support to being so close to making this a reality was absolutely amazing and a dream come true.
We now had to focus on applying for funding therefore I worked closely with Adonis Hoxha & Albjon Bogdani two members of Ema Andrea's team for over a number of months on the submission of the application for the International Fund for Cultural Diversity from UNESCO. We was applying for a bid to receive support and funding for the duration of 18months project and will continue on after the project finishes.
On April 2016 we submitted our application with the various in-kind supporting letters and backing of organisations, government authorities for a chance to receive the funding from UNESCO.
Due to the great response and feedback from government officials I was invited by the Council of Tirana (Bashkia Tiranes) to attend Albania in the summer of 2016 for a week to work on little project with no funding available apart from travel expense, Food and hotel. I decided to take this on and also invited Jonathan Jay Baron one of my Team members of my dance crew to attend and assist me on choreographing and do it as this was part of a greater cause. I'm a strong believer in helping others and giving back especially when it comes to using my knowledge and passion in what I love doing to help and inspire others.
The project was to work with young people of Tirana to create a performance piece which would be performed at a number of events including a major annual event called Marathone e Kenges which takes places in various cities in the Balkans throughout the summer holidays. The main performance I was invited to work on was to be held at Fier City a televised event to the national public with performances from well known national Artists and musician. A small advertising campaign was put on social media before we arrived, considering this was a small campaign and only was put out a week prior we arrived It had a great impact and received a high volume of interest from young dancers in the region wanting to be part of this project, we also had interest from young people in neighbouring cities which wanted to be part of this project considering their annual house hold income was very low and having no money to afford to travel but was willing to walk two hours there and back just to attend rehearsals and be part of this project was amazing.
The dedication, hunger and passion of these young people that was involved in this project was mind blowing, they put so much hard work into everything without ever complaining and always having a positive attitude. All their hard work paid off and the results were outstanding as they put on an amazing performance which was absolutely rewarding to witness and be part of. For the majority of these young people it was an inspirational moment which they never thought they would be given and an opportunity to be part of a something great and perform in front of thousands of spectators which also was being televised to millions of viewers nationally and not only that but to also receive an encore for their performance which was overwhelming to experience.
This is exactly what I love about what I do and it had a big impact on me especially after spending 6-7 hours daily for a week with them all and getting to know them was an amazing experience. They shared their stories with us, their love and passion they have for dance and also hearing from some that I was the reason why they started dancing after seeing me on Albanian's got Talent in 2010 inspired them to start dancing which was moving and inspirational to hear. Experiencing and witnessing this made me want to give more and push further by giving them more opportunities and creative platforms so that they can continue to be inspired. This is exactly the reason why I choose to start Creating Society with dance project to be able to give them an opportunity to unite and share their passion and love for dance.