Freedom to play

Albana’s story

“Can you believe it? I get to play every day with my friends”

Children living in poverty often have to grow up fast. When parents are away long hours trying to find work or earn much-needed wages, it often falls to the children at home to take care of chores and younger siblings. The high levels of responsibility from a young age – and the lack of time to play – can have an effect on children's development, emotional well-being, and education.

Albana is a nine-year-old girl who lives on the outskirts of Durres, Albania. Her daily routine involves taking care of her younger siblings, Gesi, who is four, and Olivia, who is two, as well as doing household chores. Her family lives in poverty, and her father is mostly absent, leaving her with little time to play or relax. Even in the summer, she spends her time at home helping out.

Albana's family is part of Mission Without Borders' family sponsorship program – and when Albana received an invitation to the Mission's summer camp that year, she was filled with excitement.

"Can you believe it? I get to play every day with my friends," Albana said excitedly at the camp. "I have new friends here; one of them is my close friend. We're doing crafts, and I'm learning to swim in the sea. I was afraid, but now I love seawater – it's salty!"

Summer camp gave Albana the freedom to play and have fun, laugh with friends, and experience a carefree childhood for a short while – an experience that will stay with her forever.

She added, "I learned to pray! I also learned to practice good hygiene, and now I have a better understanding of the importance of personal care. I learned to brush my teeth, which I never do at home because nobody asks me to do it, and I don't have any time. When I wake up in the morning at home, I start looking after my brother and sister. They're small, and I have to take care of them, feed and clean them and after that, go to school or do chores at home."

She added, "Sometimes during the day here at camp, I miss my little siblings, but just for a few moments. I feel free to play and spend time with my friends without being concerned about them. My mum's waiting for me to come home and take care of them, but I'll stay till the end of the camp. I'm having fun and learning new things with my friends. This summer camp is absolutely the most unforgettable experience of my whole life!"

This summer camp is absolutely the most unforgettable experience of my whole life!


Arian, one of the MWB workers, said, "Children improve their communication skills at camp. They learn good habits here, and they continue to practice them when they're back at home. Summer camp is a big event that children love to talk about once they return to school. We're so grateful to our supporters and God for making summer camp possible. It's been life-changing in many ways for Albana and many other children."

The freedom to play is vital, helping children develop social and communication skills, cognitive skills, imagination, and more. That's one reason why Mission Without Borders summer camps mean so much to children like Albana. That break from their everyday responsibilities, the chance to use their imaginations, make their own choices, and spend time with friends has a powerful impact on their well-being that lasts beyond the end of summer camp.

Summer camp may only last a week or two – but its impact is for life. With your help, we can give more children like Albana the freedom to play – the freedom to simply be children. 

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Children will have the opportunity to go to one of MWB’s Summer Camps

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