The OriginAL is inherently tied to Albanian origins, as its name suggests. It started as an idea aiming to grant young individuals in the diaspora the chance to explore their Albanian heritage from diverse vantage points.
The OriginAL is a joint program by GERMIN and the Global Albanians Foundation (GAF). The program was inspired by Birthright Israel, Birthright Africa, Reconnect Hungary, and Birthright Armenia, among other similar initiatives worldwide; the program endeavors to offer a cost-free volunteer, educational, and cultural encounter to young Albanians in the diaspora (aged 18-24) in their countries of origin.
For the pilot year of OriginAL in 2022, we brought 40 young Albanians from the diaspora thanks to a successful online fundraising campaign that covered roughly 70% of the program’s expenses. As we prepare for the program’s next iteration, we opened the call starting from the beginning of March 2023. We received more than 500 applicants. We will welcome a new group of participants and provide them with a meaningful and enriching experience in August 2023.
OriginAL hereby acknowledges the role of the EXINN Technology Center in creating and developing the brand name OriginAL and its generous contribution to our program by allowing the use of the word OriginAL without any cost as a social contribution to promote Brand Albania worldwide.
OriginAL’s mission is to build a program that brings thousands of Albanian youth on a free two-week trip to their homeland countries every year that will:
· Connect them to strengthen their sense of Albanian roots, identity, and belonging;
· Provide an immersive cultural and educational experience, and
· Build bridges for Albanian youth to network and collaborate together
OriginAL will plant the seeds for its Alumni to stay connected and take on future leadership roles that promote and contribute to the development of their homeland and diaspora communities around the world..
OriginAL will change the way that Albanian Diaspora Youth perceive their homeland countries by promoting its people and wonders in the most realistic way. We believe that one of the main obstacles in our path to development is the lack of direct communication and contact between each other. Therefore, by bringing the Diaspora Youth closer to their origins, OriginAL hopes to motivate them to continue to explore their Albanian identity and support for the homelands, as well as maintain long-lasting connections with the Albanians they meet on their trip. OriginAL will encourage participants to take active roles in their communities and to participate in follow-up activities worldwide.