Adrian and Siljana Hyseini are two Secondary Scholarship Program (SSP) beneficiaries of REF that graduated high school last year. The siblings are role models in the Albanian Roma community for which they were awarded excellency prizes. Both Adrian and Siljana are now studying at two top private universities in Tirana, Albania. Siljana is studying Political Science minoring in Law, at New York University of Tirana while her brother, Adrian is studying Computer Engineering at the Canadian Institute of Technology.
At the age of 14, Siljana was prevented from continuing her schooling due to the conservative thoughts of her extended family. However with the persistence and determination from her mother and brother, she was able to break through these constraints. Siljana and Adrien walked 45 minutes daily to attend one of the top high schools in Tirana, where they were the only Roma pupils. Thanks to the scholarships they received from REF, both were able to focus more time and energy on their studies. They graduated with honors and are now helping and mentoring two young Roma children with supportive weekly lessons.
“I think that Roma in Albania need to know that the difference that education brings us is of a huge importance, and so we Roma role models need to help young Roma who are discriminated at school and have lost their interest in education” insists Siljana.
REF is now supporting both students with a tertiary scholarship (RMUSP). Adrien and Siljana are on track with their studies and hope to continue to help their community as proud Roma.