Resilience during natural disasters is key to achieve the objectives of a well-thought-out project.
Over a year ago, when we initiated this trilateral, then still unnamed, project ‘engaging women for women’, we realized the tangible achievements that would result as intrinsic reward. It was never easy. The implementation of this overall project always confronted us with undesirable hurdles that gave us a tough time, but never blocked the outcome we had envisioned and scrupulously planned for it.
During these past months, the goals achieved were many, and we are now very pleased to summarize the concluding statistics: while focusing on helping mainly women and children in the rural areas where the earthquake did the most damage, we were able to directly assist in person, train and help each and every one of more than 85 individuals, women, students, and young children.
We worked with 17 businesswomen operating in the areas of Kruja, Vau i Dejës, Durrës, Tirana and Lezha. We provided them with legal and financial training and granted each entrepreneur with funds to reconstruct the damages caused by the earthquake and cover some of the billing expenses of the raw materials they needed to continue their operation.
A total number of 40 participants, comprising 10 women and children in Ishëm, and 10 others and children in Bubq, were selected and granted psychological assistance through professional therapeutic sessions by a trained psychologist, who helped them deal with the trauma and gave them skills to overcome the distressing circumstances within their respective families.
A segment of one the three-phase project was devoted to young adults; selected students that had to leave their studies or pause them because their families were not able to afford their education, were granted help. Thus, 10 university students were able to finally pay their university fees, providing an optimistic view in their pathway. But we did not stop there. We continued our mission and helped 18 more students (16 women & 2 men) to attend professional training courses, by granting them help in paying off their course fees, covering their transportation costs, as well as the provision of needed materials for their development work.
The effective outcome from all the above actions turned out to be greater than initially projected, with very evident positive impacts reflected not only in the eyes of the recipients, but also in the heartening involvement of all participants.
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This project was supported by the financial contributions raised by Albanian American Women in Washington DC, through the Valbin's Center for International Programs (CIP), and was implemented by ‘The Ivanaj Foundations of New York and Tirana’.