News

ADRA: Hope for Albania during the corona crisis

ADRA: Hope for Albania during the corona crisis

(credit: ADRA Albania)

September 01, 2020 | Tirana, Albania. | APD.

Curfews during the COVID-19 pandemic have caused hardship for people around the world. In Albania, misery was exacerbated by the earthquake, in November 2019, as many people became homeless. ADRA, the Adventist Development and Disaster Relief Agency, is focusing its efforts, during the pandemic, on particularly affected families.

The earthquake that struck the country in November 2019 killed 51 people, injured about 3,000 others and destroyed numerous buildings, leaving thousands of families without shelter. When the nationwide lockdown began in March 2020, many of these people were living in tents or shipping containers because their homes were still unsafe and uninhabitable.

According to ADRA Albania, one of the hardest hit areas was the region of Kruja, north of the Albanian capital, Tirana. This is where the Adventist relief organisation is currently concentrating its efforts during the pandemic and is supporting families who are still suffering from the effects of the earthquake.

"These were difficult months because the people we work with were living outside the city, in tents, without adequate infrastructure and without basic living conditions," says Kristi Qendro, ADRA programme director for Albania. "ADRA started its intervention immediately after the earthquake in November 2019 and is still working to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic with food and hygiene packages, individual and group counselling, online psychosocial support, and additional classes for children at risk of dropping out of school."

Help for the most vulnerable

ADRA in Albania has been running education projects in the affected regions for more than ten years, but its efforts have intensified during this double crisis. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, ADRA provided relief supplies to over 100 families. The aid included tents and other materials for shelter, stoves, washing machines, portable toilets, showers and solar water heaters, as well as hygiene kits and hot meals. In addition, about 3,500 children and adults received psychosocial support through individual counselling, group therapy sessions, excursions, and complementary education.

"Our intervention specifically targeted the needs of the Roma and Egyptian minorities, as these groups continue to be marginalised," said Altin Rexhepi, Executive Director of ADRA in Albania. Despite political rhetoric, the government and state institutions did not consider humanitarian aid for these Roma and Egyptians as a priority.

When the pandemic brought additional hardship, ADRA secured funding to supply 40 Roma and Egyptian families with food parcels and hygiene items for two months. Thirty other families in the villages of Thumane and Bubq received hygiene materials during this period.

Caring for troubled people

During the pandemic, the need for psychological support increased, but the possibilities reached their limits. ADRA in Albania, in collaboration with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, set up a nationwide telephone helpline to provide support to people with mental health needs. Callers were able to talk to ADRA psychologists and social workers for personal counselling. Three pastors from the free church were available for those who expressed a spiritual interest.

Provision of educational opportunities

For ADRA in Albania, it is a top priority to help children from low-income families to get a quality education. Pupils from these families have been particularly affected since the schools were closed during the pandemic. Working with school staff in the Tirana region, ADRA identified children at risk of dropping out of school and offered complementary education to help them better manage their online learning. ADRA worked with a teacher to create explanatory videos and shared the explanatory video lessons with the children through a WhatsApp group.

Meeting centres

In July 2020, the ADRA meeting centre in the village of Bubq was reopened and a new meeting place was set up in the village of Borizane. These meeting places offer lessons, group counselling and leisure activities for children, young people and adults. As the risks of COVID-19 were still present, these centres informed the public about appropriate protective measures to combat the virus and encouraged local residents to take care of their physical and mental health. The centres are a place of serenity and comfort for people who have suffered from their losses in the earthquake and pandemic.

ADRA Albania

ADRA's COVID-19 deployment in Albania is part of its global efforts to alleviate the suffering caused by the pandemic. As the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA is supporting some 2.7 million families in more than 70 countries during the pandemic. ADRA's emergency relief efforts include distributing food, hygiene products, and cash vouchers to those in need, as well as training frontline workers and providing medical supplies to hospitals serving vulnerable citizens.

More about ADRA at www.adra.org

The original article was published here.

Back to list