Albanian Center Gets a Boost from ‘Wunderkind’

New additions to the Albanian Community Center in Waterbury, Connecticut. (Photo via  Illyria)

New additions to the Albanian Community Center in Waterbury, Connecticut. (Photo via Illyria)

A new computer lab at the Albanian Community Center in Waterbury, Connecticut, means students young and old will be able to take language classes in Albanian and English, as well as other skills courses to improve and empower their lives, reports Ruben Avxhiu for the Albanian-American newspaper Illyria.

The workstations and furniture come as a donation from Albanian-American philanthropist Richard Lukaj, the son of Albanian immigrants from Montenegro, and a banker “once lauded as Wall Street’s wunderkind.”

In speaking to Illyria, he lauded the contributions of the town’s Albanian community.

Celebrating Albanian heritage in Waterbury. (Photo via Illyria)

Celebrating Albanian heritage in Waterbury. (Photo via Illyria)

“The Albanian community in Waterbury has a proud legacy of providing wonderfully enriching cultural, educational and faith based opportunities which bring the community together and enrich the Town of Waterbury, CT as a whole,” Lukaj said.

The beginnings of the organization can be traced all the way back to the 50s when immigrants old and new took steps to preserve and cherish their Albanian heritage. They bought a building and turned it into a community center. They built a mosque and hired their own imam. Today, the organization has expanded to include Albanians of all religions and backgrounds. Located at 38 Raymond Street in Waterbury (www.aac-ct.org), it has great ambitions about ways to improve and empower the local community and the city where they live.

Go to Illyria to read about the organization’s oral history project on the first Albanian settlers in Waterbury.

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