In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor

by Nehemiah Gateway USA
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
In Albania, Food and Medicine for the Poor
Elena, Maria, Kristo, Luiza, & Viktorie with Anila
Elena, Maria, Kristo, Luiza, & Viktorie with Anila

Dear friend,

Maria (11), Viktorie (9), Luiza (7), Elena (4), and Kristo (2), pictured above with NG social worker Anila, live in the village of Nice (pronounced Nee-cha) in rural Albania. The younger girls were playing "makeup" right before Anila arrived, which is why their eyes look so alarming! 

These siblings live with unemployed parents who suffer from mental health problems. Much of the household work falls to 11-year old Maria, and to her grandmother, who is staying with them right now to help out. This year, the small village school did not open on time, and the grandmother has not been able to get in touch with the school director, making her wonder if the school will even open this year.

In Albania's remote villages, life has always been hard. Although schools, clinics, and post offices came to the villages in the Communist era, those services have eroded in recent years.Given the choice, many people left for better opportunities in the city, or abroad. Those who have remained have remained because they cannot leave. It takes money to find a place to live in a city. People with health problems, like the parents of these children, have no employment options and nowhere to go. 

Nehemiah Gateway is one of the only sources of help for this family. Our team visits several times each year, with food aid parcels, donated clothing, a caring heart and a helping hand. Although NG cannot solve their situation, we make sure that these growing children are getting food to eat and are having their basic health needs seen and addressed. Most importantly,  our team shows families like these that they are not forgotten by the world. We can't fix the villages, but that doesn't mean that we can't make things a little better

Your donations are what makes this work possible. This campaign is ongoing, because the needs are ongoing; please consider making another donation here. 

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

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Pranvera with one of her children on her lap, 2019
Pranvera with one of her children on her lap, 2019

Dear friend,

Pranvera is a young mother with five children and an alcoholic husband. She has kidney problems, and they are both unemployed. She and her children have been coming to the NG soup kitchen in the southern Albanian city of Gjirokaster since 2015 for meals, counseling, and community.

Inflation is a worldwide story in 2022, and in Albania, as elsewhere, it hits the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest. Prices of staple goods have gone up at least 20%. Added to that, the war in Ukraine has had some direct impacts on Albania. The costs of fuel have skyrocketed, while commodities that are usually imported from Russia and Ukraine, such as flour and sunflower oil, have become both scarce and expensive. To top it off, a terrible outbreak of bird flu on Albania's largest poultry farms has made eggs, normally a cheap source of protein, quite costly. 

As Pranvera says, "Our life has become more difficult now. Even though the war is in Ukraine, we feel the increased prices draining our hope. The increased food prices have made it hard for us to feed our children. I feel so overwhelmed seeing my children not being able to eat when they are hungry. I am so stressed as I don't know what we will eat the next day."

Every year, NG's aid program provides hot meals and parcels of staple goods for hundreds of people in need-- people like Pranvera and her children. As Pranvera says, "I am very thankful to NG Albania for  supporting me and my kids with warm meals, package food, and medicine. It is a big help for my family because I do not know how my family could survive in this situation."

This program is ongoing, and you can support it here

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

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Vaide, 80, with Nikoleta
Vaide, 80, with Nikoleta

Dear friend,

Vaide is 80 years old, and she has no family to help her. She never had children, and since her husband died, she has lived alone.  Most of the time, she is by herself. She lives in the village of Trebinja, in the Pogradec area. "She is a strong woman," says Nikoleta Xhindole, who runs NG's humanitarian program in Pogradec. 

For the last five years, NG has helped Vaide with food packages, clothing, and other material needs she can't take care of herself. Last summer, team members even helped her fix up her kitchen, because, at 80, she couldn't fix it herself. "Whenever the humanitarian team visits, she feels really happy," Nikoleta explains. "She smiles all the time when the staff is there, and wants only to talk to them and be asked about different things. It is very difficult to live alone in these times, and in poverty."

Vaide is just one of the 180 households NG Albania helps every year, with food parcels and other needs. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with widespread unemployment and inflation in Albania, have only deepened the isolation and hardship people like Vaide face. We are grateful that the support of donors like you has made it possible to add families in need to our program since the pandemic started. 

This program is ongoing, and you can donate here. 

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

Vaide, 80, lives alone in the village of Trebinja
Vaide, 80, lives alone in the village of Trebinja
Last summer the team helped Vaide fix up her home
Last summer the team helped Vaide fix up her home
A new stove
A new stove
Vaide loves visits from the team
Vaide loves visits from the team
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Mersya, villages around Mokra
Mersya, villages around Mokra

NG staff members Gian Paul and Andy Ardueser have been visting the villages around Pogradec with the humanitarian aid program for a while now. The villages keep getting harder to reach, as roads that were maintained under the communist regime are gradually reclaimed by the lush natural environment of southern Albania. NG's most rugged vehicles can't even reach some of them anymore, and staff must make appointments to meet aid recipients at accessible points on the road.

Recently, Andy recounts, the team was headed to a rendezvous point with an elderly woman NG has been helping for years. At the designated location, an old man was waiting. It isn't uncommon for aid recipients to enlist relatives to pick up their parcels, and his last name was quite similar to hers. Naturally, he was happy to receive the aid parcel. But then, a little farther down the road, the team met the elderly woman they had been looking for! They managed to put together another parcel for her, and she confirmed that the man who got her parcel was her neighbor, whose wife had left him and who was living with with eye problems. He really needed help, and would never have asked for it. And so the program grew that day.

Andy explains that a big reason this program is so important actually isn't because of the aid parcels themselves-- though the people who get the aid parcels do need them, very much. As Andy's husband, Gian Paul, puts it, "to someone from the US, or Germany, it would look like anybody in these villages is desperately poor. But some people need our help more than others-- people who are very old, or have a medical or mental condition, or have no family at all to help them out. And they are lonely as well as hungry and poor." The regular visits of Nehemiah Gateway staff, four times a year, year in and year out, are valuable because our staff takes time to see them, and listen to their stories. For us, these villagers are not invisible, and not forgotten-- although life in modern Albania may sometimes make them feel that way. By showing love and compassion, the team offers sustenance as important as food.

Andy was out with a stomach bug the last time the team went to the villages, so Gian Paul went in her place. One elderly woman, Mersya, who lives  in a barn-like structure with an array of animals, demanded of Gian Paul where "the blonde German lady" was. "I miss Andy," she said, "she always asks me how I am, and hugs me, and takes care of me." But, she said, taking a long look at Gian Paul, "I think you are good enough for her. You'll do for now."

Thank you for your support of this program. Taking the time to go see people like Mersya where they live, and bringing them both food and compassion, is making life in the villages both kinder and more comfortable. Continue supporting this program here. 

Gratefully yours,

Sarah Pita

The roads to the villages deteriorate over time...
The roads to the villages deteriorate over time...
Village life
Village life
Gian Paul and Andy
Gian Paul and Andy
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Dear friends,

Having a child with special needs creates challenges for Albanian families. Services are limited, and necessary treatments and therapies-- when they are available-- can be expensive. Parents and other family members are often the only caregivers, and that can be a full-time, unpaid job that lasts a lifetime.

In Pogradec, Nehemiah Gateway is one of the only organizations offering free services to people with disabilities or other special needs. Our connection to this community is highly customized to the needs of each household. We bring both physical therapy and aid parcels into the homes of people with mobility challenges, and sometimes our staff even do a little light cleaning and cook lunch. We run support groups for mothers, and provide special education services at our clinic.

And sometimes, we do things because they are fun. On a windy day in April, our clinical staff created a kite-flying field trip at a nearby park for some of the children with special needs in the program. It was a lot of fun-- and brought the  children together in the fresh air, allowing them to connect with one another as they developed their motor skills. 

Through this program, we provide food and medicine-- but we also work to build community and help people learn.

These needs are ongoing and you can help here.

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

Development Director, NG USA

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Nehemiah Gateway USA

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
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Project Leader:
Sarah Pita
Boulder, CO United States
$19,100 raised of $20,000 goal
 
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