Encouraged by the prospect of a pledge of funds for quake victims’ help that was offered, earlier this year, to our Ivanaj Foundation Institut in Tirana, we decided to personally conduct a survey of some affected areas with the help an experienced coordinator, who was driven around by one of our most active volunteers.

Through a series of  very helpful local contacts that pointed us to places that were mostly affected by the three powerful seismic shakes of the previous months, we reached people in need in very remote areas, whose suffering and distress is now also compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Needless to say that our efforts for this and other non-charitable, but educational projects, some funded by EU in the Western Balkans, in which we are involved, received a “stop” sign on March 11, and our offices, like everyone else’s, were locked down  as per government directive. Thanks to our modern facilities, our entire staff and volunteers were, however, able to continue all sorts of work from home for a couple of months, and now slowly reuse our premises, when needed, which have meantime undergone complete decontamination.

It’s during this time that allowed catching up from a backlog, needed reorganization of data, issues,   ideas, and rethinking of future plans and ways of conducting them, that we recently also saw the possibility of developing a smaller charitable project to alleviate a bit the stressful conditions of some of the families that we already met during our initial survey.  

Again, thanks to our staff that took advantage of allowed time to circulate, only in specific days and hours, and if equipped with special permission, that we put together what we named a “care package deal”.  Thanks to the funding indicated below, it consisted of donation of food, masks and hygiene products that were assembled for, and delivered, by the Ivanaj Foundations to 20 families in Bubq, Ishëm and Këneta of Durrësi.

Our staff and volunteers prepared the materials, took care to pack them, transport them to the location and went to each family to distribute them on May 15th. Children welcomed us with smiles and, the elderly that already knew us, called us by name. The renewed hope in the eyes of children and the elderly, gives us more strength to continue our work to help people in need.

It was a small miracle pulled off by great ‘team action’! Thanks are due to all involved and especially to the staff and volunteers of the M.  M. Ivanaj Foundation Institut in Tirana for their dedication and work!

This project was made possible by the combined financial contributions raised by Albanian American Women in Washington DC, through the Valbin's Center for International Programs (CIP), and from the M&M Ivanaj Foundations of New York & Tirana, and the Ivanaj Foundation's volunteers in Tirana.