In October 2021, we went to Albania, more precisely to Kukës, a small town in northern Albania. With 22%, Kukës has the highest poverty rate in the whole of Albania.
For the year of 2021, we shifted our focus towards countries in Europe. During our research, it quickly became clear to us that the lack of education opportunities, especially in countries that were dominated by communism for a long period, is a huge factor when it comes to poverty.
We spent a week with the children of the Riza Spahiu Advanced Elementary School in Kukës. Many of the children lost their home or their family during the horrible earthquake in 2019.
Read about the experience of one of our Volunteers in this project, Caterina Montalbano:
“Albania was my first project with WeTomorrow. I had been looking forward to it for weeks. When we finally arrived in Durres, I was immediately impressed by the Albanian hospitality. Already in our accommodation we were welcomed as if we were part of the family and even if communication was a bit challenging, I immediately had the feeling of being welcome. After my stay in Albania, I can really say that I have taken the Albanian culture and the warm-hearted people in my heart.
While working with the children, I was surprised at how different the level of education of the students was. For me, this reflected the wide open social gap of education between the kids, as well as the relative poverty that is not always immediately recognizable in this proud country. It is therefore even more important to give the children self-confidence and a belief in a better future, as well as to provide appropriate impulses and ideas. Many of the children had hardly any pencils or schoolbooks at their disposal and jumped with joy at everything that we had brought for them. You could feel how they enjoyed the time together and the attention, and we had the unmistakable feeling that we had given them something for their lives.
The project was marked by many short-term changes and challenges, which taught me to adapt quickly to new situations and to see the positive in everything. I am very grateful for this beautiful experience. It was a blessing to be able to spend time with such inspiring and like-minded people (the other volunteers) and to create something meaningful for children in need.“