Yllka cannot wait for the opportunity to surprise her family with traditional meatballs on the table. She is blind, and thus few people in Kosovo expect her to cook, or do much of anything for that matter.
has taken the initiative to empower more blind women to become autonomous. Through their program “Let’s Learn to Cook”, Yllka and nine other blind women have learned to cook independently.
The organization, a branch of the national Association of Blind People, aims to protect the integrity and rights of blind people, further their education and help them integrate into Kosovo society.
“Of course it is harder for them to learn to cook, as they must learn based touch,” said Miradije Buçaj, the organization’s Director. “However, as a blind woman and a mother of two daughters, having prepared meals, cleaned the house, ironed and done all other house work, I can say it is not impossible for these women to achieve it.”
Beyond learning new skills, the project also brought women together and enabled them to create new friendships. For women who have extremely limited to no social life and lack support from their families, encouragement from new found friends facing similar issues offered hope.
“It is a challenge for us,” Yllka said. “But it helps us a lot, and it also gives us the opportunity to socialize with other blind women and girls.”
The women who participated in the project have committed to sharing what they have learned with other blind people.
“This project was a special pleasure and I benefited a lot from it,”said Valmira Berisha, another participant. “In our families they do not allow us to cook because we are blind. The experience of learning is extraordinary. I have learned to cook not only for myself, but for others as well. I have become independent.”