KOZNICE/KOZNICA, Kosovo - Col. Francisco J. Neuman, commander, Multinational Battle Group East, Kosovo Forces, joined Bajrush Ymeri, mayor of Novoberde/Novo Brdo, Kosovo, and Jahir Syla, director of Asdreni school, Sept. 2, for a ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating the renovations to the school and new sports field.
The groundwork was laid about a year ago, both figuratively and literally, with funding approved from three sources; U.S. Agency for International Development, the municipality of Novoberde/Novo Brdo, and Kosovo Forces, the cost of the renovations were approximately 20,000 Euros. Following approval of funding, the renovations by Bejta Commerce Company, Gnjilane/Gjilan, began on the school in the mountainous terrain to the northeast of there.
"It is truly an honor for me to be here for the start of the new school year to highlight the renovations that were done to this school, and the improvements made to the sports field here," said Col. Neuman, Ponce, Puerto Rico, a member of the Puerto Rico National Guard. "Education is important to any society, and the better learning environment that students have, the more success that teachers will have in educating their students and preparing them for the challenges that lie ahead of them."
Other improvements were an addition of a dual purpose sports field that could be used for soccer and basketball.
"It's an honor to be amongst you today to inaugurate this sports field," Ymeri said. "I was a teacher for three years in this school and the sports field that we had was not good."
The sports field is not only an improvement for the school, but also for the neighborhood that surrounds it.
"The previous rotation of KFOR and I visited the school and saw the need for a sports field," Ymeri said. "This field will be used not only by school students but also by local youths who remember how bad the conditions here before this improvement."
Central heating was another improvement that can be accredited to USAID. The cold weather of the past has generally been combated in small villages by wood stoves. This improvement will be much appreciated in the winter months.
Col. Neuman's remarks reflected upon how the importance of this ceremony and renovation.
"This is an important project for a number of reasons, but the most important reason is the fact that the children of this community represent an example of the great hope for the future of Kosovo," he said.
KFOR, under U.N. Security Resolution 1244, is mandated to provide a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement in Kosovo. Humanitarian projects like this have been a part of KFOR's attempts to hold true to that mission.