Volunteering to Build Community

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Born and raised in Libya, Qendresa Hoti and her family have just returned to their native Kosovo* after almost three decades away.

She is a PhD candidate in Biochemistry and currently lectures at a private university in Kosovo, where she applies the lessons she learned overseas.

“If I’ve learned anything from my education abroad, it is that listening to your ambitions is how you get serious about setting your goals, and once you set those goals – you just plunge into doing them,” she explains.

Qendresa has a good understanding of what it is to work among diverse communities. During her bachelor studies conflict in Libya broke out in 2011.

“I didn’t just want to sit around and do nothing, so I decided to volunteer together with my sister at the local hospital in Hun, where we lived,” she says. “We were young, and those moments spent at the hospital laboratory in the middle of the crisis, have shaped me into a stronger and more compassionate person.”

With the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, Qendresa tapped into her volunteerism skills once again. She offered to volunteer at the COVID laboratory of the Kosovo National Institute of Public Health, and she has also helped establish a private clinic for COVID-19 testing.

“I feel like the more skills and experience you accrue, the more you want to share some of that good fortune with others,” she explains.

Hence, apart from teaching biochemistry, Qendresa’s goal is also to help her students understand why volunteering is a worthwhile cause, and how it benefits communities.

Learning to be ambitious at a young age, Qendresa appears to be a leader in the making. She explains that women just need to look around and see the countless examples of successful women around them.

“There are so many wonderful examples of women who have overcome so much in life and are successful at what they do. My own ambitions are to advance my professional and personal skills to a maximum, so that I can be a valuable contributing force in my community,” says Qendresa.


*All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).