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A fund-raising evening organised and broadcast by BIRN as part of its ‘Life in Kosovo’ show has raised funds for the medical treatment of children at home and abroad.
Lazio Footballer Lorik Cana’s jersey and a dress worn by Kosovar actress Arta Dobroshi were among the top items auctioned off as part of BIRN’s gala show, which raised 400,000 euro for charity.
The money will go to the Mother Theresa Association in Germany, which helps children from Kosovo receive out-of-country treatment and has funded improvements to the children’s ward at Prishtina’s main hospital.
Shaqir Gashi, president of the association, said this year’s gala, the first staged in cooperation with BIRN, had been a great success.
The show, which included performances from pop stars and comedians, was broadcast live on Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK, the country’s public broadcaster.
Jeta Xharra, BIRN Kosovo director and anchor of Life in Kosovo, said such an amount had never been collected in Kosovo in the space of only two-and-a-half hours.
“ With these funds we can nurse back to health ten children, and this is what’s most important,” she said. [to treat each one of these gravely sick children will cost tens of thousands of euros each]
The event was staged in the recently opened Emerald Hotel on the outskirts of Prishtina.
Meanwhile banks operating in Kosovo have rounded up the final sum to 400 000 euro.
Shaqir Gashi, president of the Mother Theresa Association in Germany, said the final amount could reach as much as 450,000 euro as phone calls had continued after the closing stages of the broadcast on RTK.
Albulena Sadiku, a project manager at BIRN, said a staff of more than 50 worked for two weeks to ensure that the night raised as much money as possible.
Comedian Besim Dina, who appeared on the show, said it gave him a special feeling to help children in need. “Tonight proved once again that our people know how to open their hearts and their wallets,” he said.
The Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra performed under the baton of Albanian conductor Desar Sylejmani, who lives in Germany.
The invited guests in the hall, as well as the viewers at home, had the opportunity to hear the world-famous soprano singer Ermonela Jaho. Kosovar mezzo-soprano singer Flaka Goranci sang with the tenors Riad Ymeri and Rama Lahaj.
RTK’s big band as well as Kosovo pop singers like Genta Ismaili and Dafina Zeqiri also performed.
Lorik Cana, who plays football for Lazio, Rome, provided his jersey for the charity auction, raising 15,000 euro from a caller in England
The dress of actress Arta Dobroshi, worn for a premiere at the Cannes Festival, was bought for 7,000 euro.
“It was our first live show and it was a big challenge,” host Xharra recalled.
During the evening, three imams from Kosovo, Shemsi Rrahimi, president of the Islamic Community in Vushtrri, Lutfi Ballek, an imam in Prizren, and Jetish Berisha, an imam in Mitrovica, decided to give a month’s salary each as a donation.
For the first time funds also came from several Kosovo municipalities. Novo Brdo, Mitrovica, Gjilane, Prizren, Kamenica, Gllogovc, Obilic and Peja each gave 1,000 euro, while the capital, Pristina, donated 2,000 euro.
Four companies whose representatives were present inside the hall raised tens of thousands of euros.
“The solidarity exceeded our expectations and we are very pleased that we managed to do this for the children of the country,” Xharra said.
Erelehta Popaj, who manned BIRN’s call centre, noted that most of the calls came from Switzerland. “Most of the amounts they donated were for 100 Swiss Francs and above,” she explained.
Donors spent hundreds of thousands of euro building a new museum in Gjirokastra - but the results were questionable and it ultimately closed over an ideological dispute.