Sep 22, 2021

Seeing the Overlooked, Hearing the Unheard

Mersya, villages around Mokra
Mersya, villages around Mokra

NG staff members Gian Paul and Andy Ardueser have been visting the villages around Pogradec with the humanitarian aid program for a while now. The villages keep getting harder to reach, as roads that were maintained under the communist regime are gradually reclaimed by the lush natural environment of southern Albania. NG's most rugged vehicles can't even reach some of them anymore, and staff must make appointments to meet aid recipients at accessible points on the road.

Recently, Andy recounts, the team was headed to a rendezvous point with an elderly woman NG has been helping for years. At the designated location, an old man was waiting. It isn't uncommon for aid recipients to enlist relatives to pick up their parcels, and his last name was quite similar to hers. Naturally, he was happy to receive the aid parcel. But then, a little farther down the road, the team met the elderly woman they had been looking for! They managed to put together another parcel for her, and she confirmed that the man who got her parcel was her neighbor, whose wife had left him and who was living with with eye problems. He really needed help, and would never have asked for it. And so the program grew that day.

Andy explains that a big reason this program is so important actually isn't because of the aid parcels themselves-- though the people who get the aid parcels do need them, very much. As Andy's husband, Gian Paul, puts it, "to someone from the US, or Germany, it would look like anybody in these villages is desperately poor. But some people need our help more than others-- people who are very old, or have a medical or mental condition, or have no family at all to help them out. And they are lonely as well as hungry and poor." The regular visits of Nehemiah Gateway staff, four times a year, year in and year out, are valuable because our staff takes time to see them, and listen to their stories. For us, these villagers are not invisible, and not forgotten-- although life in modern Albania may sometimes make them feel that way. By showing love and compassion, the team offers sustenance as important as food.

Andy was out with a stomach bug the last time the team went to the villages, so Gian Paul went in her place. One elderly woman, Mersya, who lives  in a barn-like structure with an array of animals, demanded of Gian Paul where "the blonde German lady" was. "I miss Andy," she said, "she always asks me how I am, and hugs me, and takes care of me." But, she said, taking a long look at Gian Paul, "I think you are good enough for her. You'll do for now."

Thank you for your support of this program. Taking the time to go see people like Mersya where they live, and bringing them both food and compassion, is making life in the villages both kinder and more comfortable. Continue supporting this program here. 

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

The roads to the villages deteriorate over time...
The roads to the villages deteriorate over time...
Village life
Village life
Gian Paul and Andy
Gian Paul and Andy
Sep 17, 2021

Flowers and Face Masks: A New School Year Starts

Nehemia School First Day of School 2021
Nehemia School First Day of School 2021

Dear friend,

Bringing flowers to teachers is a beautiful first day of school tradition in Albania, where teachers are deeply respected. At NG's schools in Albania, a new school year is underway. Students at NG's Amaro Tan School (140 students, grades pre-K-9th grade) and Nehemia School (470 students, grades pre-K-12th grade) are back in their classrooms. Their desk are farther apart than pre-pandemic, and class groups are split to follow government guidelines for distancing. Let's hope this year is healthy, productive, and free of disruptions-- for all of us! 

Your support has helped NG's schools adapt to COVID, which has presented challenges at every level of the educational process. Education changes people's lives, and your support is changing lives in Albania.

We are currently fundraising for a pilot project at Amaro Tan that will provide incentives for good grades and attendance this year. You can learn more about that education project here-- and if you would like to make a donation we would be most grateful. 

Be well!

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

Flowers for teachers!
Flowers for teachers!
Back in class at Amaro Tan
Back in class at Amaro Tan
Back to school at Amaro Tan
Back to school at Amaro Tan

Links:

Jul 23, 2021

Summer fun in Gjirokaster

Bebeka, age 12
Bebeka, age 12

Dear friend--

In Albania, as in many places, school is on break right now. For children living in poverty, this can be a time of increased insecurity and even personal risk.  NG's youth programs in Albania put a lot of effort into making sure the children we work with have enough to eat in the summer, and that they can access appropriate social and developmental environments. And, we find opportunities for them to have fun!

NG Gjirokaster's Roma youth program hosts the children for lunch most days, and provides activities at the soup kitchen. Sometimes, there are even field trips. Recently, the team took the children to a nearby park for fun and games-- something all children should get to do in the summer.

School starts up again in the fall. With your support, NG Gjirokaster will make sure each child has the clothes and supplies he or she needs to return to the classroom, ready to learn and gain the skills for a brighter future. 

This program is ongoing, and you can help here.

Thank you very much for your generous support! 

All the best,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

Playing at the park
Playing at the park
A tug of war in the shade
A tug of war in the shade
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.