Mission Without Borders
"Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of children, families and communities out of poverty into a sustainable future"

Mirela’s story: a Different life



A young mother saw her beautiful family life destroyed by her husband's gambling - and she and her three girls were left living in desperate poverty.

Mirela, 36, said, "We were in a good situation before my husband started to gamble - but gambling destroyed my marriage and my family. Because of it, he lost his job and then he became aggressive. He was using household funds to pay his gambling debts. My daughters and I were suffering so much. We were living in desperate conditions."

Ana, Mirela's eldest daughter, said, "I felt abandoned by my parents. My father was gambling and violent because of his situation - and my mother was focused on him. She wanted to help him but he was addicted."

The marriage ended in divorce and Mirela was free from the pressure of debt collectors, but her family was broken and she had no way of providing for her daughters. Once she relied on her husband to feed her family but now she found herself unemployed and having to rely on others.
Mirela and her daughters Ana, 16, Ada aged 12, and Meli, six, live in the ex-swamp community of Durres where they are surrounded by poverty. The area floods regularly and smells of sewage, and the water is not safe to drink. There are few employment opportunities here, access to education is difficult, and families led by single parents are particularly vulnerable.


"Mirela and her daughters need everything. Two years ago when they were enrolled in the programme, they were depressed. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for the mother," said Arian Ndoni, Mission Without Borders' (MWB) Christian Outreach coordinator in the area.

Mirela's family has been supported by MWB for two years, and now they have joy and hope for the future. They know that there is a God who loves and cares for them.
"I'm still unemployed but I'm not alone. The Mission and some good people are supporting us to go ahead and feel free to live," said Mirela.

Two weeks ago Mirela was delighted when she received a sewing machine from MWB. She will use it not just to mend clothing for her family but also to try and earn some money.
She said, "I plan to do mending services such as repairing clothes or replacing broken zippers and in the future I can sew dresses, shirts and maybe trousers for others. I have to try to provide for my family. This is a great opportunity. It's nearly Christmas, so I'll try to do some nice festive red tablecloths for us as well."


Looking at her daughters' faces while they talk and smile, Mirella's face brightens. Ana is achieving excellent results at high school, and her ambition is to study law at university. "It's my dream to be part of the justice system," she said. "And I want to be a singer," added the youngest, Meli, breaking into a loud cheerful song.

Arian said, "We are on a mission to care for this family, helping them to experience God's love and to move towards self-sufficiency. We started off by meeting their basic needs - emotional and material. The family are hungry spiritually too. We are helping each member of the family to know and feel God's love, step by step. We are helping them through a process of healing by being close to them, listening to them and counselling them, and leading them towards a different life."

Mission Without Borders (MWB) works in the ex-swamp area to support over 90 families through our Family to Family sponsorship programme. Families are given emotional and material support and helped on a journey towards self-sufficiency. As Christmas approaches, these families will soon be blessed by Operation Christmas Love parcels, filled with food and treats to help them celebrate a happy Christmas together. With the help of our supporters, we can help more and more families to know they are not struggling alone, that there is a God whose heart is to lift up the least of these and reveal to them His goodness and his grace.