Our goal is to offer new foundations for children in Albania who are in need of help. We will answer some questions on the plight of children with disabilities or who are in need in Albania. Please send any more questions you would like us to answer as comments on this page.
What are the prospects for children with disabilities in Albania?
- There are at least 120,000 children with disabilities in Albania.[ref 3, page 24]
- There are now 1,142 children with disabilities who the government support directly. [ref 3, page 24]
- We conclude that there are over 110,000 children with disabilities who are receiving no official support whatsoever.
- A registered disabled person receives a monthly disability allowance of between 9300 and 18600 Leke (€66 to €133). The average income in Albania for most of the communities in need is under €100 per month [ref 1].
- For children living in Tiranë (the capital city) the level of help is acceptable. no more than 1-2 hours a week of speech therapy, or any other special therapy needed, due to overcrowding. But what about the rest of the country? The mother of a 15-year old boy with mental and physical handicaps who lives in a rural site said, “They said to bring him to the town to get the Social Benefit. How could I get him there? There’s no bus and I can’t even move him in the house” [ref 3, page 9].
- There is scarcely any budget allocated through official channels to equip teachers with the skills needed to aid children with disabilities.
- Most schools do not have the necessary resources to offer learning support for children with disabilities.
What is the annual income from donations to the Lidia Foundation?
- Since 2006, the Lidia Foundation has received between €130,000 and €220,000 each year. We use all of this money to offer development support and learning support to children with disabilities and special needs. Our accounts are available for inspection and audit from any donor organisation at any time.
How many children with disabilities receive help from the Lidia Foundation?
- There are about 80 children that we help. For some of them we provided a wheelchair and for others we provided support for their diagnosis and medication. 35 to 40 disabled children from the areas of Sarandë and Delvinë receive development support, speech integration training or physiotherapy each day. This occurs 5 days a week throughout the year.
How many other children receive help from the Lidia Foundation?
- We offer a hot meal and homework support to 68 children in Delvinë, five days a week throughout the year.
- We give ABC classes to 51 Romani children in Cukë, Vrion and Delvinë. We teach them simple mathematics, writing and painting. Through these efforts, some of the children have entered normal school where we continue to give them Homework support, five days a week throughout the year.
- The catholic sisters in Sarandë give 14 children a hot meal at the Marcellini center. We give the children Homework support after their meal.
- The Lidia Foundation provides professional training to 150 to 300 youths each year from underprivileged communities, such as in areas where only 1 in 10 of the population have jobs. The skills we teach include hairdressing, tailoring & knitting, computing, catering, mechanical engineering, electrical installation and plumbing.
If increased funding was available, what would be the next steps?
- If financial resources increased say by another €50,000 per year, then with the infrastructure we already have in place, we could give training for 7 more teachers and offer open development therapy for another 35-50 children in Tepelenë, Permet, Burrel and Bulqizë areas. These children have similar difficulties to those we serve in Sarandë and Delvine. We would also like to start a day care centre for paralysed children in Sarandë.
- We would like to start a homework class project for another 60-80 Romani children in Cukë and Sarandë. We are currently providing ABC (nursery education) classes to 24 children there.
- The goals above may seem modest, but we would seek to maximise use of our current facilities first. We have to prioritize (based on current funding constraints) on the needs of children in the Vlorë municipality.
- If significant extra funding was available, say over €100,000 per year, then we could become effective nationally. We would build new facilities and classrooms and recruit and train more teachers and therapists.
- We would focus in areas where we have trusted partners who have a good management team. We could grow our capabilities by about 50% each year for 4 years in order reach a level of ability and good management for the disabled children who live in rural and mountainous areas.