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The Ideas Partnership

651. Elizabeth Gowing

Elizabeth Gowing co-founded ‘The Ideas Partnership’ in 2009, together with friends from Kosovo and the UK, to spearhead a wide range of community projects in Kosovo.

Under Elizabeth’s leadership, The Ideas Partnership has transformed the lives of hundreds of children from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, providing volunteer-led educational activities, pressing local authorities to register them for school, helping to ensure they are caught up with missed vaccinations, and providing physiotherapy sessions for children with special needs.

As well as numerous other educational, environmental and cultural initiatives, the Partnership also runs a series of micro-finance projects supporting families to find alternative sustainable incomes to begging, in return for sending their children to school.

In a personal letter to Elizabeth, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Under your leadership ‘The Ideas Partnership’ is transforming the lives of hundreds of children in Kosovo. The various educational, environmental and cultural initiatives you and your team have created are supporting families to keep their children healthy and ensure they receive a good education.

Across the world British volunteers like you are helping to build a better world for everyone. The Point of Light award is a small thank you on behalf of the whole country, in recognition of your exceptional service.”

Elizabeth said: 

“The biggest privilege of volunteering with The Ideas Partnership has been the chance to see so much of the good that others do. The Ideas Partnership works not only to help those in need and help them to help themselves, but also to help those in need to help others. Whether it’s rubbish-pickers volunteering as teachers in supplementary classes at our centre, or the poorest children in Kosovo undertaking a campaign to support a local family who’d lost their son, or the volunteers young and old who’ve come out from Britain to work on our projects, I have the opportunity for daily inspiration.”

Ruairí O’Connell, HM Ambassador to Kosovo, said: 

“Elizabeth’s work over ten years in Kosovo has touched thousands of lives. Her tireless work has inspired scores of volunteers in the UK and in Kosovo, to invest their time and energy to improve children’s lives in some of Kosovo’s most disadvantaged communities. She has shown how one person can make a real difference.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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