“I Have a Dream…” – a photo project and exhibition giving voice to young women in Albania
Organized by UN Women in partnership with the Center for Openness and Dialogue and with the financial support of the Government of Sweden, the exhibition was opened with a ceremony on International Women’s Day.
A photographic project that gives voice to the dreams of young women from all over Albania was exhibited in Tirana on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Renowned photographer Jutta Benzenberg partnered with UN Women in Albania to bring to attention the reality of young women who live in remote parts of the country where gender stereotypes and patriarchal norms are still dominant.
“Women and girls in these far-flung, still overwhelmingly patriarchal corners of the country, are often missing their voice. They have fewer options for education, no option to go abroad like many of their male peers, little say or choice in their own lives. But each of these girls have dreams for their own future,” said Jutta Benzenberg, who has been photographing people around Albania for over 30 years.
The photographer captured snapshots of teenage girls as they went about their daily lives in their immediate surroundings and she also asked them about their dreams for their future. These dreams were later put together in a compilation and displayed alongside their portraits in an exhibition at the Center for Openness and Dialogue – an art space at the Prime Minister’s offices in Tirana. The exhibition will remain open until 15 April.
Some of their dreams…
“My name is Albiola, and I live in a village called Letaj. My biggest dream is to become a successful doctor. Being able to treat and help people is the most amazing thing. I would be so proud if, in the future, someone out there will get a new lease on life or simply feel better as a result of my hard work.”
I am Elsaeda from Has and my dream is to become a judge. I really want this. Even though I am poor and a daughter of divorced parents, my mum is there to support me all the way.
I am Amalia from Përmet, and I don’t have any big dreams. I just want to become a nurse and live a normal life.
My name is Elsidita, and I am from Shkodra. My dream is to become an internationally renowned boxer. I train with boys because there are no girls in boxing at the moment, so I am not able to compete in Albania. Boxing is much more than a sport to me: it is a vocation that is in perfect harmony with my mentality and personality, which may seem aggressive from the outside but reflects the passion and love that is on the inside.
“With the project ‘I have a Dream…’ I have met young women who are warm-hearted, sensitive, strong, and hopeful. And their dreams, as different as they are, tell us that they all want to work hard for their independence with the desire to make their parents proud,” stated Benzenberg during the opening remarks.
This project was created in the framework of the “Gender-sensitive post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction” Project supported by the Government of Sweden through the Albania SDG Acceleration Fund.
The exhibition also represents the ongoing quest in the Albanian society to help bridge the gap that stands between these girls’ dreams and their actual achievement.