Dec 26, 2019

One Month Later in Albania

Dear friends,

It has been a month since the strongest earthquake in decades shook Albania. Homes and businesses were wrecked; 51 people lost their lives, 2,000 were injured, and 4,000 lost their homes. There were tremors for days afterwards—over 1,300 aftershocks, even as rescuers searched for people in the rubble.

Pogradec, where Nehemiah Gateway (NG) has its headquarters, is about 100 miles from the epicenter. For a few days after the earthquake, Pogradec, a popular summer tourist destination, was so full of earthquake refugees it felt like summer, with hundreds of earthquake refugees crowding into available hotel rooms. NG provided blankets for people who needed them. It also housed three people in its facilities during that time. The following week, the survivors all went home, to attempt to resume normal existence while living in temporary shelters.

Among the rescuers was Tirana-based NG partner Emergency Response Albania (ERA). ERA is an ambulance service in a country that faces challenges delivering timely emergency medical response to people who need it.  During the days following the earthquake, ERA paramedics helped find survivors in the wreckage, provided emergency care for survivors, and transported them to hospitals. They provided emergency food and supplies, and space heaters for people living in tents.  They went deep into their reserves of medicine and supplies, and their off-road rescue vehicle was damaged during the rescue effort.

NG’s partner Profamilija is working in the Peza area near Tirana. In that area, 250 families suffered damage to their homes, with some houses destroyed and others significantly structurally damaged. Profamilija has been providing humanitarian aid and will be helping with reconstruction in Peza.

In Durrës, our friends at Qendra Nehemia Durres provided food, blankets, and shelter to people who lost their homes and are continuing to provide food and psychological assistance to the many people who have come back but have no homes.

Your donation was used for the humanitarian support provided by NG Albania, ERA, Profamilija, and Qendra Nehemia Durrës to survivors of the earthquake.

Moving forward, Nehemiah Gateway Albania will help earthquake survivors in rural villages. These villagers were already  living on the margins of Albanian society when the earthquake destroyed their homes. Many of them are now wintering in tents, because they can’t leave their livestock.  Donations will help villagers fix their homes, to keep the winter out and stay safe and warm. With government response focusing on urban areas, this is a tremendous unmet need.

You can help here.

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

Dec 17, 2019

The Lifelong Gift of Learning

Bihter, age 7
Bihter, age 7

Dear friends,

Your support for our Help 30 Albanian Roma Children Stay in School  project is already changing someone's life. This fall, your donations made it possible for Nehemiah Gateway Albania staff to help 20 children register for school, have checkups at the local medical center (the first time many of them had seen a doctor), and get new shoes and clothes and backpacks, books, and supplies for school. Their families receive monthly aid deliveries. After school every day, the children come to the Nehemiah Gateway soup kitchen for a hot meal, activities, and homework help. We even throw them birthday parties (see pictures).

A little Roma girl named Bihter (pictured above) is one of the children you have helped. She is seven, and enrolled in first grade. She says "I am so happy that I can have new clothes and school textbooks. I have never had new clothes and books in my life. I don’t stay anymore on the cold outside in street but I can stay on my desk in the classroom. My teacher is very friendly. I know to read most of the letters of the alphabet, and I can write my name." 

This program is ongoing. This group of children will continue to need our support as they grow up, and there are many more children in Gjirokaster who would like to join. You can help them here.

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season.

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

Bihter at school
Bihter at school
A family with aid delivery
A family with aid delivery
Birthday parties at the soup kitchen!
Birthday parties at the soup kitchen!
Dec 10, 2019

Bringing aid to Mokra

Villagers near Mokra
Villagers near Mokra

Dear friends--

The In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor project continues to bring food, supplies, clothing, and medicine to 190 families  in the Pogradec area of Albania year-round.  The people we help are in need due to poverty, illness, disability, unemployment, crisis, and geographical isolation. With your help, we provide aid, social services, and medical support to people who would not get it otherwise. 

Recently, the NG team visited the remote mountain villages in the Mokra area outside Pogradec. The roads to Mokra are terrible, and get worse every year.  A professor at Nehemiah Gateway University who lives in Pogadec accompanied the team. He says he was surprised at the abject poverty he witnessed in some households. One old woman who lives alone has holes in her roof that she patches with plastic sheeting every time it rains, climbing up on to the loosely tiled roof herself to put up the plastic in the rain and then removing them when the sun comes out. Food aid helps, but "much more assistance is needed," he says.

This project will continue as long as there are people in the Pogradec area who go to bed cold, hungry and without a good roof over their heads every night. You can help make their new year brighter and warmer by continuing to support this project here.

With best wishes for a happy holiday season and wonderful new year,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, Nehemiah Gateway USA

 
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