Children without parental care, those with special needs, and individuals who have abused narcotic substances or alcohol are the three categories of society that will now have greater support. Founded in 2014, the Kosovar real estate company “Pro Real Estate” has created the “Trust Circle” Foundation, an initiative that claims to foster a culture of empathy, kindness, and solidarity, inspiring others to contribute to the well-being of their fellow citizens.

The willingness of the managers and employees of “Pro Real Estate” to help the community has made 1% of their salary and 1% of the company's profit to be the first funds raised for the foundation, which has become a practice, as such a percentage is donated monthly.

Krenar Batusha, executive director at the “Pro Real Estate” company, has narrated the idea of establishing the foundation and the stages they are expected to go through for the realization of long-term projects, the main goal of which is the benefit of the community.

How was the “Trust Circle” Foundation founded?

Krenar Batusha: My family has always wanted to help the community as much as possible. Such willingness to help, fortunately, also prevails in our company, “Pro Real Estate.” We have tried to support initiatives, especially those that have had children as the main focus, but so far, these donations have mainly been of the type that provides momentary solutions. We made donations on the occasion of various holidays, on the occasion of building houses for people in need, and on the occasion of medical treatment. We have supported the Organization for Children without Parental Care (OFAP), SOS Children's Villages in Kosovo, the organization “Autizmi Flet” (Autism Speaks), etc. However, despite this support, in most cases, I have not seen a long-term solution.

Based on these, we have thought long and hard to find a formula that will work to establish a different foundation, the foundation that will offer long-term solutions. We have researched a lot to see how other foundations work, and we have also met with various non-governmental organizations to better understand society's problems. During our meetings, we noticed that one of the biggest problems of foundations or even humanitarian organizations is money. We have seen that those who have money make donations of the above-mentioned type, making only momentary solutions. It is not invested further. And this is where the role of the “Trust Circle” Foundation comes into play.

We named it “Trust Circle” because we think that in order to develop a country, it must become a circle of trust, a circle where we trust each other and work for a common interest, the development of our community. Considering that with the “Pro Real Estate” company, we are already known in the business world, not only in our country but also in the diaspora, I wanted to connect the foundation directly with this company, finding a formula that first gets the support of the team and then we can also ask for the support of others. One thing is certain: that to make big ideas like this come true, there must be consistency and an exceptional team, with which also comes the trust in the community.

Which categories of society will be helped by the “Trust Circle” Foundation?

Krenar Batusha: There are three categories of society that we have decided to help first: children without parental care, children with special needs, and individuals who have abused narcotic substances or alcohol.

What we have seen in our country is that very often, people are not close to those who need it the most. First, children, who are the most innocent creatures in the world, have no fault in how they are born or how they grow up, and from the information we have received, it appears that a high percentage of them grow up with physical and psychological violence. If we do not help them and prevent problems, they accumulate from childhood and end up in the third point, their abuse of narcotic substances or alcohol. Unfortunately, our country does not offer educational and cultural solutions for these categories of society. No concrete solutions are offered.

To help a child and a young person develop, we must have a society that reaches out and advises; we must have a state that offers them the basic conditions for living. We have our own case in the company when we have made individuals who have abused narcotics/alcohol part of the team and helped them change their lives 100% for the better. We have given them the will, we have shown them that they are good people and have the opportunity to change, develop, and have a better, healthier life.

How will the income for the foundation be provided?

Krenar Batusha: The foundation has already collected the first funds. From the very beginning of the idea of establishing the same, we thought that a part of the revenues should be provided by the company within which it is created. Therefore, we have decided that 1% of the profit of “Pro Real Estate” will be transferred monthly to the foundation's budget. Now, this “1%” has become one of the most important parts of the “Trust Circle” in terms of revenue collection. I say this due to the fact that when we shared the idea with the “Pro Real Estate” team, each of them expressed the desire to contribute 1% of his/her salary on a monthly basis. This is a fact that has made us extremely happy, as their support once again proves that united, we can achieve great things. Normally, an agreement is made with everyone, and everything is done on a voluntary basis. So, the first part of fundraising has already started a few months ago and is going very well.

Meanwhile, the second part is related to donations from businesses, different companies, and individuals who want to become part of our cause. At this point, we are working to join forces with various organizations and companies, where we have already received the promise from some of whom we have met. With the same, we aim to achieve the collection of large sums, with which we then will start working on solutions to elementary problems, such as providing schooling conditions, psychologists, psychiatrists, care in different families for children without parental care; providing elementary conditions for schooling and movement in the city (school banks, elevators, etc.) for children with disabilities; providing adequate treatments for individuals who have abused narcotic substances or alcohol.

Normally, we are working on getting large investments from banks or other charitable institutions, which are global, with which we can then create adequate centers for those categories of society for a better life for them.

This is the idea for change, for Albanians to come together, businesses together, to share a percentage of ours for a better country and community. “1%” is the best point of how everyone can contribute without exception, donating an amount that them is not big, but for “Trust Circle,”  it will be very important.

Photo Credit: Pro Real Estate

What are the stages you are expected to go through to achieve your goal as a foundation?

Krenar Batusha: The “Trust Circle” Foundation aims to achieve the collection of large sums, with which we then create new centers or operationalize the existing ones for these three categories.

The first phase will be the creation of a center for children, a center that will have an educational and sports character, in which those children will be able to be educated and advance, prepare for a better life. The second phase will be the construction of a center for children with disabilities for their development and providing them with the elementary opportunities they deserve, as they are offered in European countries. Meanwhile, the third phase will be the construction of the rehabilitation center, which will be all organic, and in which the possibility of employment will be offered to the people who undergo their treatment there. This will help them to earn money, but on the other hand, also minimize their problems, as well as remove the dependence on what they have. When the solution of the rehabilitation center is made, the solution of what those people can work on is also found. Getting rid of addiction to narcotic substances or alcohol automatically means that those people have to be ready for the labor market and have to be part of all these businesses and organizations that contribute to this foundation. It is precisely this category of society that has a lot of potential, and after what they go through, they know even more about the value of work. Therefore, they are inclined to be more successful.

What are some of the challenges you are facing?

Krenar Balusha: We are not really facing any very big challenges, as we are also working intensively with experts in the field so that the foundation works as we see it. We want to be reliable, so we are working in 100% transparency, as it is about something very sensitive: it is about taking other people's money.

Perhaps as a difficulty, I can mention the efforts we are making to reach agreements with the banks so that whoever wants to contribute every month, the transfer of money is done automatically. So they don't need something that reminds them since we know that such a thing can be forgotten.

What I can assure you is that everything will be open. We want to accomplish our mission together for a better, healthier community.

This interview is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Catalyst Balkans and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

The Citizen Engagement Activity in Kosovo is a five-year initiative implemented by Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Photo credits: Arbër Gjoni