Mar 9, 2020

The Tools To Build Dreams

Megi is a top student in her 3rd grade class
Megi is a top student in her 3rd grade class

In the southern Albanian city of Gjirokaster, the Roma children in NG's program are well into the school year. All of them remain enrolled in school. Monthly aid to their families keeps them fed at home, and they get a full hot lunch at the soup kitchen every afternoon. The soup kitchen offers a warm, well-lit place to do homework after lunch-- which these children, living in extreme poverty, do not have at home. NG's social worker maintains regular contact with both teachers and parents to support the children's progress and challenges in school and life.

Megi, age 9, is one of the program participants. She comes from a low-income family of seven. A third grader, she is one of the top students in her grade. She says "I am so excited that I am accepted in Nehemiah. Now, I can eat delicious food in the soup kitchen. I can play with other children and learn more about myself and others. I am so happy that Zaide is helping me to do my homework, and I like studying. My dream for the future is to become a lawyer so that I can protect children's rights."

By helping children like Megi access education, nutrition, and health, your gift is making it possible for them to dream-- and empowering them to make their dreams come true someday.

Thank you very much for your donation for this ongoing program, which you can still support here

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG-USA

Another participant in the Gjirokaster program
Another participant in the Gjirokaster program
Homework time at the Gjirokaster soup kitchen
Homework time at the Gjirokaster soup kitchen
Feb 12, 2020

Getting through the winter in Peza

Naim and his family outside their tent
Naim and his family outside their tent

Nehemiah Gateway team members recently visited the village of Peza, which is located about 40 minutes by road southwest from Tirana. Peza has a population of about 7000 people, and is noted in Albanian history as the site where, in 1942, Albanian resistance forces gathered to coordinate in the fight against fascism. 

This small community was hit hard by the earthquake: the local school was so badly damaged it had to be demolished, and the medical clinic was moved to a new, rented space. Sixty-three families lost their homes altogether and are currently living in tents, in the dead of winter.

When the earthquake hit Peza, Tahir and his family were at home. They ran outside in the middle of the night, and spent the following hours sitting on the doorstep of their home. Their house has since been condemned due to heavy damage caused by the earthquake. Since then, they have lived in a tent and in a temporary living structure provided by the local government. 

Naim’s family also lost their house in the earthquake.  Although the tent they now call home holds a small stove, their children, ages 4 and 7, have struggled to stay healthy. The cold and damp of Albanian winter challenges the immune system—especially in circumstances where it is so hard to keep clean. When the NG team visited, one of the children had been sick for almost two weeks and had a high fever.

Among homeless earthquake survivors, these difficulties are all too typical. In winter, nighttime temperatures are below freezing, and the rain and snow are cold. In Peza, many of the people hardest hit by the earthquake were already living in poverty.  The earthquake turned difficult situations into desperate ones, and desperate situations into emergencies, easily overlooked in a disaster of this scale.

Nehemiah Gateway is partnering with Profamilja, a small Albanian NGO based in Peza, to bring relief to earthquake survivors like Tahir and Naim’s families. Since the earthquake, ProFamilja has worked with volunteers to supply tents for all sixty-three families, disbursed ten tons of food packages, distributed 1,700 blankets, worked with World Central Kitchen to serve 25,000 hot meals, and provided 100 pairs of shoes to school children in need. 

Your donation helped families like Tahir's and Naim's get through the first two months following the earthquake. At this time, Profamilja is starting to help people rebuild their homes. You can help the rebuilding effort by continuing to support this campaign at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/aid-for-albanian-earthquake-survivors-1/

Thank you very much for your compassionate and generous support. 

All the best,

Sarah Pita

Naim's daughter outside the tent
Naim's daughter outside the tent
Tahir's family's tents.
Tahir's family's tents.
Bathrooms like these make basic hygiene difficult.
Bathrooms like these make basic hygiene difficult.
Tahir's wife and two children
Tahir's wife and two children
Feb 11, 2020

Graduation at Nehemiah Gateway University

Anxhelina at her college graduation
Anxhelina at her college graduation

Sixteen students graduated from Nehemiah Gateway University back in December, having completed the three-year business bachelor's degree program. Included among the graduates are two sisters, Ekleva and Anxhelina, who went through the program at Amaro Tan, got scholarships to continue at Nehemia High School, and completed the course at our university. Ekleva and Anxhelina come from a Roma family, and are first in their family to complete university degrees. 

Less than 2% of Albanian Roma graduate from college, so this accomplishment puts them in an elite group in their community. Both young women have already found employment. We look forward to hearing about their future successes.

Your donation to Nehemiah Gateway's education program helps students at every step on their educational journey, from preschool through university. It gives opportunities to young women like Ekleva and Anxhelina, starting when they are in grade school. An investment in education is the best possible investment in people.

Thank you very much for your support.

All the best,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, Nehemiah Gateway USA. 

Caps in the air for the new graduates!
Caps in the air for the new graduates!
Anxhelina and Ekleva
Anxhelina and Ekleva

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