Confident women can change the world
By Fati Gorezi
Albana Osmani is an established Television Presenter and Radio personality, well known for presenting many programmes on national television on Albania’s ‘Top Channel’. Albana’s popularity grew along with the rise of ‘Top Channel’, the primary communication platform followed by millions of Albanians all around the world. As an artist with a degree in “Painting and Graphic Design”, Albana has always integrated her artistic spirit into whatever she does and loves paying attention to detail as well as reaching out to dedicated and supportive collaborators – and to the people who have trusted her in every step of her career. In this interview she talks about her career, the position of women in the world, and her perspective for the future. She is also the CEO of ‘You Are a Sunflower’, a non-profit foundation that gives care and support to every child facing the scourge of cancer in Albania, Kosovo and around the world.
Can you tell us more about your professional background?
For 16 years I’ve been a Presenter with great shows on the biggest Albanian media platform named “Top Channel”. Over the years I’ve been presenting I have been the author of many of the programmes that have succeeded in getting the audience to the maximum. Among the programmes presented year after year, I personally became established as one of the most regular faces on television. From the programmes for youth such as the music shows, the festival of modern music, the supermodel shows of Albania, ‘Fashion Kupid’, ‘Love Story’ and later on in the best casting programs ‘Albania’s Got Talent’, and ‘Fiks Fare’, ‘Investigation Show’ and talk shows such as ‘Big Brother Albania Fans Club’ as well as hosting ‘Top Magazine.’ Now I am preparing for another new show that will be out this year. My studies on visual art at the ‘Academy of Arts’ and my experience in television have been synchronised with my two biggest passions – art and television! I have worked hard during my life and I feel blessed for that!
How do you remember your childhood and early life?
I am the middle child of my family. I have two older sisters and two brothers younger than me. My childhood has been like a very beautiful happy fairy-tale and I believe that my family has educated all of us with many virtues and values for life and work – along with the modesty that every human should have in their heart. I have much respect for my two parents who I love very much and have a great place in my heart.I wanted to find myself and enjoy my life. Even today I have the same happiness as a child in everything I do.
You are today a very popular and famous TV host in Albania. How would you describe your career at the point where you are now?
I feel accomplished. I feel I’m on a journey where the adventures are not yet over and I’m ready for more work with more dedication. I’m glad that I have experienced several different TV formats and that I’ve experimented and learned a lot.
It seems that in Albania you are admired by many young girls who really fancy television and its magic. What are the tips you would give them regarding how to find success?
Believe in what is in your heart. Do the best! Real talent will always be sought after, and nothing can cover a shining sun – not even the clouds or rainy days. Talent and dedication will lighten your way!
What have been the biggest challenges in your life as a girl working in television and as a professional and as a woman?
I experienced happiness even when it seemed that many things did not follow my plans. I believe in what I am, and I feel that I have been given a great gift in life. Each profession has its own challenges and its “battles”. I have been taught to fight my own battles knowing in my heart that I am winning. I have also appreciated the “battles” of others even if he/she was my opponent. So, I’ve been there to congratulate them for their successes too. I think that being creative in painting sometimes creates your own colourful day, so I’ve drawn my own journey and continue to feel a lot of light coming into my life. I would encourage everyone to walk forward without stopping towards their dream!
Is there anyone in Albania who you particularly admired? Or was a model for your life?
My two parents. They are my best models. In their portraits I see everything I love and want to be. Of course, as you grow and learn many things with the years, you learn to admire many influential people with great leadership skills that have changed the history of the world. These people never forget they were originally just people like us but with a calling in their lives to fulfil their potential. Above all else I believe that the power of the soul is the most powerful force we have. I can think of many names that the world has admired for centuries, and I too have great appreciation for their contribution.
How would you describe your relationship with your family?
I would describe it as the most important thing in my life. It is everything I have!
What is your greatest ambition in life?
I would like to have the opportunity to help the children of the whole world in one form or another. Children who are today suffering in poor conditions which, sadly, is their reality.
Can you tell us more about your “You Are a Sunflower” business? How did this idea become your life mission?
The “You are a Sunflower Foundation Inc” is a non-profit foundation registered officially in the USA. We also have an office where we operate from in Tirana, Albania, where everything started from. Our focus is on the children who are most in need and are being treated in state hospitals for blood cancer and Leukemia. They are in desperate need and their lives depend on specific hospital equipment. So far, we have been extending our business across three states: Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. By creating products like T-shirts, Teddy bears and ideas like the game app “You are a Sunflower” that can currently be downloaded from any Apple Store or Play Store. Globally, all people were invited to buy a teddy bear and/or download a game and so that’s how we get funds. With this small percentage we are able to buy the missing hospital equipment for Albania and Kosovo. Now in Macedonia the campaign is continuing, and shirts are on sale online via our website – www.youareasunflower.org
Everything started without a plan and without a well-planned project – just the great desire in my heart to help those little children. Among some of the flowers I painted I choose the sunflower, because the sun is life and this message is dedicated to those who are struggling to survive in their lives. Those who are wanting to find strength and hope for the future. We put these flowers on the t-shirts that we bought with our own money in the first humanitarian campaign. Then I placed them on sale online and on ‘Top Channel’ live and I invited all the Albanians to buy the three thousand t-shirts that had been created. The miracle happened, and all the t-shirts were sold over seven weeks and four days. Then we used the money to buy the equipment for the hospital. And getting to the pavilion was the happiest day of my life. Then I couldn’t stop so I worked day and night without stopping to help more children. Now we are a non-profit Foundation and we are proud of this. Work continues voluntarily from our side. Many good people have joined us to help us and have given us their hands on every step of this mission. I now believe that it is my mission in life in which I found myself without any plan but with just my heart.
What do you want to achieve with the Foundation?
We are now in three states and our aim is to be global. I believe that in 2019, in the Spring, we will launch a global campaign so that more people will be invited to take one of our products and ideas and to contribute to the children’s survival. One of the ‘Global Impact’ activities like ‘AMFAR Gala night’ will be the moment that people will learn more about the sunflower that started its journey from a small poor country called Albania with people of good heart – the country of Mother Teresa. I will go wherever there is a needy child in the world who needs love!
Can you share with us some emotions from your personal experience during the meeting with sick children and their family members?
I call them CHAMPIONS! They are such small children who face the toughest challenges. Sometimes they get disconnected from their friends because the chemotherapy treatments are very difficult. They are often isolated, and, in many cases, they are without friends or families. I see in their eyes a great desire for life and it feels like I am struggling for them as they would fight for me. I feel their blessings for everything and feel the Lord’s strength even when my knees are shaking. Sometimes I feel in my soul a great noise like water that is gurgling without end after difficult meetings with a child in a severe condition. I wake up and hope for the best.
What is your message to all those who want to help these children?
‘Global Woman’s’ audience is in many parts of the world and I would like to ask everyone – through our website – www.youareasunflower.org to seek more information about everything. Then I would encourage everyone to take one of our products – a T-shirt with the sunflower. Also, download the App Game ‘You are a Sunflower’ for any iPhone or android or iPad from the Apple store and Play store for only $3.99. These little things can change the future for our children. On our website people can also make direct donations if they want. We will keep focused on our mission with the Board and the staff and with all the people who want to join us for this non-profit mission made from the heart. Thank you on behalf of all the children!