In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School

by Nehemiah Gateway USA
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School
In Gjirokaster, Help Roma Children Stay in School

Dear Friends, 

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.

You can still help them-- donations to this project will help them stay connected to school with help from our team.

Hoping that you are all staying well, and keeping your spirits up in this difficult time.

All best wishes,

Sarah

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Dear friends, 

On March 10, we sent you a report about Roma children in Gjirokaster who were in school and thriving with your support. That same day, all the schools in Albania were closed after the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in that country. Restrictions on movement and public gatherings followed quickly, and lifeline services like soup kitchen meals were put on hold. 

The children in the after-school program have been home ever since. So have the guests who usually rely on NG's soup kitchen for a hot, nutritious daily meal, company, and access to counseling. All of them had precarious existences even before the pandemic, isolated by health conditions or poverty, and in many cases living on the brink of homelessness. 

The Gjirokaster team can't provide hot meals in a communal setting right now, or group homework help, but they have diligently brought aid bundles to each household every other week since the lockdown, contributing food, cleaning supplies, medicine, and counseling services at a safe distance. They check in regularly with each child in the school program, maintaining their connection to education even while the schools are closed-- so that when schools do reopen, they all go back.

Your donations have made this ongoing care possible. We thank you for your generosity and will keep you posted as the situation in Albania continues to unfold. 

We recognize that this is a challenging time for many people. If you are able to contribute to this ongoing program, you can still do so here.

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG-USA

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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
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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!
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Dear Friends--

Last Monday, September 16, was the first day of school in Gjirokastër. Thanks to you, twenty Roma children were able to register for school with help from Nehemiah Gateway staff. They arrived bright and early with all the rest of the Gjirokastër school children, with new backpacks on their backs, filled with school supplies they need to participate in class. Five of the children are first graders and are attending school for the first time. All the families are receiving food aid, helping them to enjoy nutritious meals at home. 

We decided to expand the campaign, with a new goal of $7000, and are hoping to add up to ten more children to the program. As you can imagine, there are many more poor and at-risk children in Gjirokaster, and this program can give them a chance at a happier and brighter future. New donations will help more children in need, and make a real difference in their lives. 

Your donation is what made this possible, and I can't wait to share updates with you on how their school year goes! In the meantime, here are some pictures of the first day of school. Enjoy!

With gratitude,

Sarah

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Organization Information

Nehemiah Gateway USA

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Sarah Pita
Boulder, CO United States
$10,343 raised of $12,000 goal
 
62 donations
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