Overall objective: Focusing especially on those from the Roma and Egyptian community, we will attempt to combat poverty and social exclusion, by building effective models for supporting children, youth and families in need.
1) To reduce the numbers of vulnerable children who are being exploited and abused in the area of Municipalities No.9 and No.5, by supporting them with formal and informal education.
2) To empower youth in difficulty, so that they can face the challenges of life through capacity building focusing on the development of professional skills for employment.
3) To strengthen the capacity of marginalized families in these areas, by providing child care so that they can access social services. Please click here to download the 3 Month’s Report…
There are approximately 120,000 Roma people in Albania, they are one of the ethnic minorities and originated from India many years ago. The Roma people are often not registered in the civil status registers of the country and therefore they have no civil rights or benefits such as the right to education, or to vote. The living conditions of these people are very difficult: they live on camp sites where there is no running water and no electricity. The children do not attend school. Their basic human skills are below that of human dignity. For more information please read the report…
The only income is guaranteed from begging, recycling from the rubbish dumps and trafficking. The children are often the first to be abused for these tasks. The main activities of ‘The Little Angels Centre’, opened in 2009, are the basic education of Roma street children aged between 6 – 14 years old who live with their families in the region of the Train Station in Tirana.
The project, Little Angels, was founded in partnership with SHKEJ, and runs a centre for the well-being and reintegration into school of ethnic minority children including Roma and Egyptian. It also out reaches to two Roma camps where the original families served by this project, were scattered due to a violent attack on their camp two years ago. MWL, through funding received, donates the total funding resources for this project and oversees its welfare and development.
The project is managed by the NGO SHKEJ who work in partnership with MWL. MWL is committed to this work into the future more particularly because the ethnic minority communities in Albania have the highest percentage of trafficked victims coming from these communities. This is particularly so in the area of trafficked children sold for begging, and with vulnerable young girls who are trafficked into the sex tourism industry. Little Angels is part of a wider network called BKTF whose focus is ‘Children at Risk in Albania’. The project offers teaching support, medical, psychology and social support both in the centre and in out-reach to the camps where the children live. There is also a feeding programme to ensure the children are nourished with two meals a day to keep them healthy and fit for school.
In 2013 the project moved to new and larger premises thus providing a better environment for the work and to increase the numbers of children who can avail of this service. The staff of the project has reported a very successful year of work with nearly all of the children now integrated into the public school and there is real hope for these children into the future. The work is very challenging and difficult because the children come from an environment of extreme poverty where there is little food, poor, unacceptable shelter with no electricity or running water and tents which are very cold in the winter leading to many serious infections throughout the year. The other grave disadvantage is that the children are expected to work and gain an income from the earliest age of three and four years.
To sustain this momentum of daily education is almost a superhuman challenge. Nearly all the children face this and somehow cope from day to day. The manager, staff and children, participating in this project, are all to be congratulated for continuing, with patience, to work together to achieve their goals.
The project also works to strengthen the activities within the community of the Roma at the train station through regular home visits, registration of families, the development of a youth group and health care. There is also an important emphasis on enabling the families to access the statutory local services.