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.
Thanks to your donation, nine year old Senada goes to school every day, and comes to the NG Gjirokaster soup kitchen for a hot meal, social time, and homework help afterwards. She says "I love the school and I want to learn, because I do not want to be like my mum and dad who are illiterate."
Knowing how to read and write is a huge step forward for children like Senada, and will give them opportunities their parents never had. Single mother Liljana sends her two sons to school for this reason, and adds that NG's after-school program provides her children with the homework help she is unable to give them herself.
School is fully in session in Gjirokaster, and the children report that they like learning core skills like reading and math, as well as fun subjects like art, music, and dance.
COVID-19 has made things harder for most people in Gjirokaster. Tourism is the main industry, and prior to COVID, the city was seeing record numbers of visitors. For now, there are almost no tourists, and unemployment has increased dramatically. The families of children in our program have been receiving aid since the pandemic began last year, which has created an added incentive to keep the children in school during this difficult time.
Thank you very much for your support of this program, which is ongoing and will continue helping Roma children in Gjirokaster gain an education as they grow up.
A colleague of mine made the trip from Pogradec to Gjirokaster recently to visit the soup kitchen and see how the children in the school program are doing. When he visited, a cold rain was pouring down on the steep, cobbled streets of the old city. In the classroom building, the children were snug and warm. Having enjoyed a full meal in the soup kitchen, they were enjoying homework help, social time, and activities together.
Because of your incredible support, these children are still going to school, and still in Gjirokaster. Now, they have someplace warm and safe to go after school, and a hot, nutritious meal every day. In the longer term, learning to read and write and acquire the tools of a basic education will help them build brighter futures for themselves than they would have otherwise.
Thank you for your support. This project is ongoing (the children still have a lot of growing up to do!) and you can still support them here. It's nothing less than an investment in their future.
PS Did you know, we even have birthday parties for each child in the program? Cake and balloons help let the children know they are special and valued. Also,birthday parties are fun!
With your help, the Roma children in NG's Gjirokaster project were able to go back to school when it reopened this fall. Donations helped set them up with shoes and clothes (because kids are always growing!), backpacks, and school supplies, as well as food bundles for families. And the children have finally been able to start returning to the soup kitchen for lunch with their friends, homework help, and activities. As you can see in our pictures, it looks a little different now, with NG adhering to all guidance on masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We're delighted to have the children back!
In the hilly, historic city of Gjirokaster, summers are hot, and people continue navigating restrictions on gathering designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. For Nehemiah Gateway's soup kitchen there, this has meant feeding people in shifts, with only a few people eating at once. Our popular summer camp for local youth was cancelled. The Roma children who participate in our school support/after school program miss coming to the soup kitchen every afternoon for activities and social time with their friends, but our team is bringing meals to their homes and checking in with the children regularly. The school year is currently scheduled to start on September 14, and a model involving "blended learning" is likely to educate children with a mix of classroom and virtual learning.
The Roma children in our program come from very poor families-- some of them live in tents. It will be challenging (to put it mildly) for them to participate in online learning without computers or even, in some cases, electricity. The NG Gjirokaster team is working to support them so that they do not fall behind.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
Get Reports via Email
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.
Give the gift of stability in a time of instability. Set up an automatic, monthly gift now and get matched at 100%—because the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt us all, and it will take all of us to overcome it. Terms and conditions apply.
Monthly giving is as easy, safe, and as inexpensive as a Netflix subscription. Start a monthly donation to Nehemiah Gateway USA today and get matched at 100%. Terms and conditions apply.