Albania

How Covid-19 is affecting our work in Albania

On Thursday 11th of June, the Albanian government declared that although the official ending date of the state of emergency was to be June 23rd, they were still very concerned about the present growth rate of the virus.  The number of those infected and hospitalised have since increased and are now higher than in the initial days of the pandemic.  Covid-19 has affected the lives of many in unexpected ways; the uncertainty of the illness itself, job losses, the immediate change of lifestyle, and the added security measures have caused many families to pause and reassess their lives.

Our F2F beneficiaries, as well as those enrolled in our many other programs and projects, continue to receive regular food and hygiene support during this time.  We also continue to pray for guidance for the Mission staffs and lift specific family prayer requests to the Lord on a regular basis.  

Monthly food parcels as well as Gifts in Kind were delivered adhering to well-defined security measures such social distancing and the use of masks and gloves.  Our beneficiaries clearly appreciated the effort made to deliver the necessary food, hygienic, and other necessary items and felt really blessed thereby during this difficult period.  We distributed items of food to all beneficiaries in our Soup Kitchens, ensuring that everyone was provided for and had sufficient to eat.

Faik Zotkaj, one of the Berat Soup Kitchen beneficiaries is an 80-year-old widower.  His children have not contacted him for many years, and he has no one close enough to take care of him.  Maybe it is because of this solitude that he never misses a chance to express his gratitude for the food, and for our staff who prepare and serve it every day.  It was also an additional difficulty for him being alone during these difficult weeks of isolation.  

Said Faik: “thank you so much for your care, and for not abandoning me.  Also, for making sure that we at the centre are well provided for and always have enough to eat.  You are the only family I have left.”

M.W.B. coordinator Evis Plaku said: “Oftentimes, actions speak louder than words. Delivering monthly supplies of food and hygiene packages, alongside the additional GIK during the Covid-19 pandemic, was a blessed way of showing help and support for the families in our program.  I really hope that this difficult situation will help us to get closer to one another, and to God.”

Mirela Opingari, mother of two, and part of our F2F program said: “I am very thankful for the support shown during this difficult time. We were not working, we were under stress and dealing with insecurities, but MWB through the family to family program helped us and was always there for us.”

We are tentatively planning for the Children’s Summer Camps, but we do not know what the future holds.  Should the local regulations permit, we will still organise the Camps in the classic form.  This activity will hopefully soon be decided upon once the authorities have made their decision.

Please pray for God’s wisdom and protection for all the staff involved.

Greetings from Monika

Field country manager Monika Qerimi has worked with MWB since 1992. She said, “The Lord has been very good to us; we have seen the impact and the fruits of our ministry.

"We are particularly thankful to God for all our sponsors and donors – without them we could accomplish very little.

"We should not forget that there is need but there is also generosity and kindness and dignity in offering help and addressing those needs – and there is humility and gratitude in receiving help. 

"We are ready to continue to face the tasks and also the challenges that lie ahead, always relying on each other and above all on the guidance and grace that come from God.

"None of us can do anything alone, things are possible in cooperation and unity, as it says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27."

One of the poorest countries in Europe

Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. One in three young people are unemployed, and for those who do have jobs, income levels have fallen to just 26% of the EU average. As a result, meeting basic needs is a daily challenge for many people and an incredible 56% of all Albanians want to emigrate, a Gallup poll found in 2017. 

Albania is also a major source country for people trafficking and forced labour; and money laundering and drug trafficking are rife. Also, women have poor social and economic status in what is a patriarchal culture, and one woman dies every month as a result of domestic violence.

Our work in Albania focuses mainly in Durres, where many people move from poverty in rural areas to find work, but we also work in the capital Tirana, in Berat and in neighbouring villages.

We work with families and children, addressing issues such as addiction and domestic violence when necessary. By providing a route to self-sufficiency and alleviating poverty, we hope to make families less vulnerable to trafficking and to labour migration. We also run a Soup Kitchen for the elderly, many of whom are alone after their children moved abroad to find work.  We provide educational support to children, making sure they have what they need to get a good education and a brighter future.

Sponsor a family in Albania

307 families in Albania are helped through our sponsorship programme

40 children in Albania are supported at our after school programme

25 students in Albania are currently helped through our scholarship programme

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