In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education

by Nehemiah Gateway USA
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education
Neighborhood cleanup at Amaro Tan, Earth Day 2022
Neighborhood cleanup at Amaro Tan, Earth Day 2022

Dear Friend--

 The weeks after Christmas were very cold in Pogradec this year— a damp cold that gets into your bones, cold that is only kept at bay by a hot stove that is constantly being fed with firewood. The people who are regulars at Amaro Tan’s soup kitchen are old, and firewood is expensive—and physically taxing to get.

Fortunately for them, Amaro Tan students are both energetic and compassionate. When the school arranged a firewood delivery for these vulnerable elders, the students did a lot of the legwork, helping deliver bundles of wood to homes all over the Pogradec area. Martin, an 8th grader, helped carrying firewood, saying “I am very happy to be able to give my contribution in helping the elderly. It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I help others.”

It's not only the older students who get to help, though, On Earth Day this year, grades 1-6 got outside and cleaned up the streets around the school. I'm told they had a great time, and got a lot of satisfaction out of the impact of their effort.

Amaro Tan students get a lot of help themselves during their time at the school. The Amaro Tan project was devised in 1998 for students who don’t get a lot of support at home—or even enough to eat. Without education, poverty and hopelessness are more likely to become a permanent condition for these young people. At Amaro Tan, students not only learn, they get healthy meals, access to healthcare and the support of teachers who are dedicated to seeing them succeed.

The goal of this 100% donor-funded program is to empower a new generation to build dignified and sustainable lives in their communities. This includes helping others. Through volunteer projects, students learn that they have something to give, and that helping others feels great. These projects are always entirely optional, and there is no negative consequence for not participating. But students are usually glad that they did.

 As a donor to NG's In Albania, Changing Lives Through Education campaign on GlobalGiving, your generosity is helping young people to build positive futures for themselves, and to help others as well. 

This program is ongoing, and you can support it here

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

Martin helps out with firewood delivery
Martin helps out with firewood delivery
Neighborhood cleanup at Amaro Tan, Earth Day 2022
Neighborhood cleanup at Amaro Tan, Earth Day 2022
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Dear friend,

NG’s private Nehemia School is one of the top K-12 schools in Albania, and is largely self-sustaining through tuition fees. So why is it part of our GlobalGiving education campaign?

Nehemia School is an academic powerhouse, with 98% of graduates going on to university and 30% of those studying abroad. Not all academically gifted students in the Pogradec area come from families that can afford to pay tuition.  Making it possible for those students to join our school benefits us at least as much as it benefits them!

We also take in students who have a particular need for the nurturing atmosphere of the school. Nehemia School has small classes and faculty who mentor and genuinely care about each student. The services of NG’s clinic, including social workers and therapists and a robust program of free humanitarian and medical aid, are readily available in the building next door. This supportive environment goes well beyond what Albanian public schools typically provide.

For young teens in crisis, access to this environment makes all the difference. Dea (not her real name) is a sixth grader whose mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and was subsequently abandoned by Dea’s father. With almost no resources, her mother asked if Dea could go to Nehemia School, so that she would have support at school in dealing with what looks to be an inevitable tragedy.

Aron (not his real name) is in fifth grade, and lives with a single mother with a chronic medical condition. They live in poverty. Aron is a smart, entrepreneurial boy, and sells wildcrafted nuts and teas in town to supplement their meager income. He has tremendous potential—and is also tremendously at risk of being recruited to criminal activity in the absence of mentors and role models.

In cases like these, the nurturing environment at Nehemia School is truly life-saving. And that is why we include these scholarships in our fundraising.

This campaign is ongoing, and you can support it here.

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

Development Director

NG USA

PS: All of the pictures accompanying this report were taken in 2019 at Nehemia School. This is what our students, teachers, and classrooms look like-- although now the students wear face masks and sit farther apart. 

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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

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Karla, a current NGU student
Karla, a current NGU student

Dear friends--

Studying at Nehemiah Gateway University can be a transformative experience, sometimes in unexpected ways. It is a small school and the learning is seldom limited to the classroom.

Karla, NGU’s first student from Guatemala, describes the moment a conversation with the Managing Director of Nehemiah Gateway changed her perspective. Karla is sponsored by a seminary that works to foster peace, justice, and compassionate communities in Guatemala. She has supported that organization in just about every possible role since she started working there, and has continued helping them out virtually from Albania. After graduation, she will go back. “He told me I should be planning to go back as a manager, not an assistant,” says Karla. “And I realized he was right.” In a culture where women have a reputation for strength, and use that strength to support others, the idea of leading is a new one. But, when you talk to Karla, you can see that it suits her.

Sandra is still learning and growing through Nehemiah Gateway University years after graduating. Sandra comes from Uganda, and, after she graduated in 2017, she went home to work for the organization that sponsored her scholarship. A few years later, she is ready to launch as an entrepreneur. Sandra is starting her own business as a groundnut wholesaler, connecting African farmers with markets in Europe and the Middle East. She has received guidance from Nehemiah Gateway University, including a connection to a social-minded entrepreneur in the US who was moved and impressed by Sandra's commmitment to employing teenage mothers in her enterprise. This connection to a like-minded entrepreneur will help her realize her commitment to her social and business vision.

At Nehemiah Gateway University, commitment to the careers and values of our students is strengthening communities, one student and one enterprise at a time. Fundraising for NG's educational programs is ongoing and can be supported here.

Thank you very much for your generous support.

All the best,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

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Dear Friends,

COVID-19 has created many new challenges in education. Nehemiah Gateway's schools in Albania have risen to the challenge. The teams at Amaro Tan and Nehemia School had to make quite a few adjustments to maintain socially distanced classrooms. Desks were cut in half and re-welded as single desks (picture below). Class groups were split to maintain mandated group sizes, with half the students in remote locations, watching their teachers online. [The new laptops helped make this possible!] Temperatures are taken every day before school. 

Nehemiah Gateway University had to grapple with even stricter government regulations. All universities were mandated to move online this fall. This measure was designed  for institutions where 200 person lectures are the norm-- and where most of the students are from the area where they are studying. Student-teacher time (pictured above) helped keep lessons real at NGU and provided more a chance for interaction for international students who are far from home. 

Donations like yours helped make these required adjustments, so that our teachers could adapt and our students of all ages could keep on learning. Thank you!

Be well,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG-USA

PS: This campaign is ongoing. You can still contribute here. 

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Organization Information

Nehemiah Gateway USA

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Sarah Pita
Boulder, CO United States
$4,468 raised of $5,000 goal
 
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