Réa Godot: from bookworm to digital entrepreneur
At just 24 years old, Réa, an avid bookworm, media lover and businesswoman, has just launched her own company, NEFOS. She wants to revolutionise the world of books and information by promoting what young Albanians have to say. Réa is one of 13 young people from the Western Balkans receiving six months of project implementation support from CFI.
“I want to talk about a dream, my great dream ... I am a dreamer, bound to fight for hope and freedom. I’ve worked patiently for more than six years now to create a little corner of joy, of influence and of hope, in an online context overflowing with stolen images, misinformation and manipulation. ‘Sunlight through the clouds’ was born out of an extraordinary thirst for self expression,” explains Réa.
“Sunlight through the clouds”, Réa’s blog dedicated to books and reading, rapidly became a sort of public newspaper, amassing a large following and attracting the attention of Albania’s largest media outlets. It is an unusual blog that promotes books and reading but that also allows young people to find the tools they need to express themselves and find an escape, should they want to.
A little history
Its name can be interpreted in several ways. Firstly, this blog wants to counter the common misconception that young people rarely read, seek out information or learn new things. Secondly, in a world where day-to-day life is often monotonous, this blog aims to be a breath of fresh air in the lives of young people.
I am a dreamer, bound to fight for hope and freedom.
As more and more people joined the platform, the messages about and support for her initiative gave Réa the idea of setting up a virtual book club (#grabyourbook), something never before seen in Albania. This club was designed to be a shared space where readers could meet, build a community and share knowledge and their love of books. It enriched the cultural lives of numerous young people and gave them the opportunity to get informed in a way they never had before.
“Sunlight through the clouds” evolved and grew alongside Réa. This blog has transformed from her dream idea into a powerful melting pot of ideas on how the young people in her country should have access to the culture and information that give them a voice.
Now, as she comes to the end of her master’s degree in business administration, Réa, who specialises in digital marketing, has decided to set up NEFOS, a digital library. This innovative e-commerce platform is unique in that it engages with readers and provides advice to help them become active and informed citizens.
NEFOS stems from the blog “Sunlight through the clouds”. In Greek mythology, fresh, white clouds are personified by Nephele (pronounced as Nefos in Greek), the Goddess of the Clouds. NEFOS was therefore created as the Olympus of Books, as a place where books are exalted as gods, as a place to call home where books are loved, respected and most importantly, recommended with great care. NEFOS is no normal online bookshop, but a place where you will find everything you could ever need to know about books, where young people are able to get informed about and discuss ideas, and find answers to their questions. As well as being a bookshop, NEFOS organises literary and cultural activities, and meetings with readers, authors and journalists.
NEFOS has been immensely popular for more than a year as it also revitalises the cultural lives of Albanian young people. The CFI mentoring provided as part of the Balkans Voices project has enriched the site with fantastic experience, inspiring examples to follow, and professionalism, and has bolstered Réa’s motivation to continue her project.
In 10 years...
In 10 years, Réa hopes that NEFOS will no longer just be an e-commerce platform selling books to young people in her country, and that “Sunlight through the clouds” will be more than a simple blog aimed at promoting reading among young people. She sees herself revolutionising the digital media world to create more space for knowledge, truth and correct information. Another project she has in the pipeline is to transform NEFOS into a publishing house, to give voices on the Albanian and international markets to those authors who need to be heard, while keeping a particular focus on young people.
This profile was written by Ivan Durgutov, a beneficiary of the Balkans Voices project.