Monday, 1 December 2014

International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women - The day in which the voice of all those abused, violated and discriminated women can be heard, because this is the day that speaks for their rights.

On 25th of November 2014, REFLECT team had organized an activity with the Roma women and girls which was focused on the topic of gender violence. 13 women and girls from the Roma community of Fushe-Kruja took part in the discussion that highlighted the right that a woman has within the society where she lives. To make this activity more impressive, a video made by ADRA Albania treating the phenomenon of Domestic Violence was presented to them. While discussing some of the women said: “Our men usually use force against us because they are stronger and think that this is their right”, “We don’t accept the idea to be abused but what can we do” said another woman. The activity was concluded with a march from the ADRA centre to the Roma community where all the women and children became part of by sharing the same message. During this march the women were holding a banner written by them: “Stop Violence”, while the children had in their hands smaller banners where was written “I love you mum”.

On 27th of November 2014 realized a training with the Roma boys focused on the topic of Gender violence in the framework of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December 2012). 10 Roma boys shared their ideas about Gender Violence and during the discussion one of them said “In reality the young generation does not violate their women. This phenomenon is more present among the old men and women in the Roma community”. 
The activity was concluded with an awareness campaign inside the Roma community, where the Roma boys shared different messages like: “Teach your Sons to Respect Women and Real Men don’t Hit Women”. The idea of realizing an awareness campaign came from the boys who spread this message to all the men in the community”

Monday, 24 November 2014

Children’s Week – Celebrating Children’s Rights

20 November marks 25 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the world made a commitment to all its children saying that: “We would do everything in our power to promote and protect their rights”. This Convention is offered and still offers a vision of the world where all children survive and develop to their full potential without discrimination, and are protected, respected and encouraged to participate in decisions that affect their lives. 22 years passed after ratification of Children’s Rights in Albanian legislation. During these years, Albania has made progress in improving the situation of children, yet this area represents many challenges. Every day hundreds of children face exploitation, abuse, violence, neglect and are being exposed to potential risks. To promote children's rights ADRA Albania organized and participated into several activities that had on focus the CHILDREN.
On 17 November 2014, ADRA staff organized an awareness camping with 40 children in the public school “Bakushe Visha” about “Children’s Rights”. During this activity the children pointed out their ideas about their rights and obligations.                                                                                    On 18 of November, ADRA staff participated in two different activities that were organized by UNICEF and Children's Human Rights Centre of Albania – CRCA.  UNICEF invited ADRA Albania in a plenary session led by Ilir Meta (Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania) in the Albanian parliament, where the youth made their questions and got answers about the future plans for education and child protection programs. The other activity was organized in Tirana International Hotel, were Children's Human Rights Centre of Albania introduced the latest scientific research:                                                          “ALBANIA - Case based surveillance study on violence against children”.                                                                                                              19 November is the World Day for Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children and ADRA Albania organized an awareness activity in ADRA community centre, focused in the topic of “Children’s Abuse and Rights”. ADRA staff decided to raise the awareness of the Roma and non Roma women that children have rights that adults should respect them. This activity aimed to create a discussion between the Roma and non-Roma mothers regarding their children’s needs and rights. In the end of the discussion all the mothers stood together for one saying: “Love your child because it is your own life”.
On the same day, three Roma children from Fushe Kruja participated in the activity that was organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth in collaboration with the Agency for Protection of Children Right. In this activity the children discussed with the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, the Deputy Minister of Education and Sport and with some representatives of the Albanian parliament about the new budget that the government will approve for addressing the children’s issue. Some of the questions that the children asked were:  We have the right to play but in our community we don’t have a safety environment, could you create a secure place where children can play safety, in our school we don’t have a psychologist or social worker...etc.
20 November was the International Children’s day and ADRA Albanian decided to join the march that was organized from Children's Human Rights Centre of Albania - CRCA for the protection of Children’s Right. In different schools many NGOs and politicians celebrated this day with the children but ADRA staff together with two Roma children and different representatives from the Civil Society decided to march in the main boulevard of Tirana for the protection of Children’s Right under the slogan: “ADRA is walking with the children for their future: RESPECT CHILDREN’S RIGHTS”. Even the Roma children had their own slogan : “We have the right to play but we don’t have were to play, we have the right to speak but no one is listening us, we have many rights but you should make sure that these rights are respected”.

Monday, 3 November 2014

March against Breast Cancer

For the sixth consecutive year, many citizens and civil society activists have marched on the main boulevard "Dëshmorët e Kombit” against breast cancer, a disease that every year is affecting hundred of females. The Breast Cancer Awareness month across the World, helps to increase the attention and the early prevention of this disease since it is the most common spread cancer among women worldwide.
Differently from the other years in this march were present not only people from the government, such as the Minister of Health, American Ambassador and actors from the Civil Society but even 30 Roma women from Fushë Kruja community. These Roma women joined the initiative and marched against breast cancer by wearing pink T-shirts, hats and ribbons. While marching the Roma women and girls were expressing themselves determined to be part of this event and to give their help for this cause. Myzena Muhaxhiri, one of the women who is part of REFLECT project said: “During this month I have heard a lot about breast cancer disease and I wanted to join this march to sensitize all the people about the risk that it has”. 

The march
The deputy minister of education, Roma women and ADRA staff
The speeches at Taiwani after the march

The minister of health, delivering his speech to the audience

All the Roma women together

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Anniversary of the Community Centre of Fushë-Kruja

On 28th of October 2014, ADRA Albania had successfully celebrated the anniversary of the Community Centre of Fushë-Kruja. The ceremony was opened with a small show performed by the Roma children who also expressed their appreciation to the guests who could came on this day.
The ceremony continued with the speeches of Mrs. Beatrice C. Kastrati, ADRA Albania Country Director, who welcomed distinguished officials including Mrs. Enkeleda Lopari, Consulate of Vice Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Mr. Met Delia, representative of Fushë-Kruja Municipality, Mrs. Majlinda Xhafa, Director of the Public school “Migjeni”, Mr. Skënder Veliu Leader of AMARODROM – Union of Roma in Albania (NGO) and Mr. Florenc Qosja from ADA-Austrian Development Cooperation.
During her speech Mrs. Kastrati mentioned the cooperation that ADRA had with other important stakeholders during these two years of projects’ implementation. Such stakeholders are UNDP, YWCA, ACA, UNCEF, Municipality, Education Department, and Institute of Public Health. During her speech she emphasized that this is the day of the Roma people thus the community will present itself with the products that have been prepared by the Roma women and children.
In her address Mrs. Enkeleda Lopari (Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth) expressed words of appreciation for the project that ADRA Albania is implementing by saying “I am happy that the Roma have the opportunity to access in these programs that will help them in the process of integration.” Mr. Delia from Fushë-Kruja Municipality estimated the collaboration with ADRA Albania as a story of success. Mrs. Majlinda Xhafa, Director of the Public school thanked ADRA Albania for the hard work made with the Roma parents in order to raise their awareness about the importance of education. In her speech she said that only with ADRA collaboration the Public school had achieved to register and integrate the Roma children in the formal education. Whereas, Mr. Florenc Qosja form ADA pointed out that REFLECT project sets a good example for the process of integration of the Roma in the mainstream society.
Before the closure of the ceremony Mrs. Kastrati assessed with certificates of gratitude all the project beneficiaries and invited the guests inside the community centre where were exposed some of the bests handicrafts and pictures made by the Roma women and children. 


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Anniversary of the community center of Fushë-Kruja

ADRA Albania (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) with the kind support of ADA (Austrian Development Agency), ADRA Austria and ADRA Germany, has the great pleasure to invite you to the anniversary of the Community Centre of Fushë-Kruja.

 On Tuesday, 28 October 2014,
Time: 09.00-14.00,
Street “Kastrioti”

Through “REFLECT – Literacy and Social Skills Training for Roma Women, Men and Children” project ADRA Albania has provided a space for the Roma community where participants learn about issues related to early marriages, health, nutrition, and education, social and economical problems. So far the project achieved:

1.    The integration of Roma children from the segregated school to the public one;
2.    Development of literacy, social and professional skills among the Roma parents;
3.    Decreased the number of early marriages;
4.    Roma boys and girls enrolled and registered in professional courses;

On 28 October 2014 you will have the opportunity to celebrate with us at the community centre. Different partners of the project and representatives of local and central institutions are also invited to take part in this event.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information and to confirm your participation at either by e-mail through or by mobile phone 066 20 92 841.


Beatrice C. Kastrati, Country Director

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wedding in the Roma Community

Gatali and Altini
Marriages are great and joyous events for the Roma, signifying the extension of a family. Marriages mark a change in the position of the couple by providing fully rights and obligations. For this reason they are accompanied with great celebrations.
In Roma culture children are used to get married in a young age. The appropriate age to get married in the Roma culture for girls is 9 to 12 and for the boys is 13 to 15 years old. Another Roma interesting fact is that the Roma girls are promised as brides since they are 4 or 5 years old, for a different amount of money. The legal minimum age for marriage in Albania is 16, but ADRA have noticed that the practice of school-age marriages remains common in the Roma community, and the authorities normally turn a blind eye.
Roma children in traditional Albanian costumes
ADRA Albania through “REFLECT’ project is working to raise the awareness of the Roma parents about the phenomenon of young marriages. It has been more than 3 years that ADRA is working with the Roma community in Fushe Kruja and now we can see a light of change. The Roma are more aware of the problems that bring young marriages for their children’s. A Roma a parent expresses in this way for this phenomenon “As a father I know what is good for my kids. There are some laws that have to be respected. We Roma have a tradition to marry our children when minors".
Through ADRA trainings about early marriages and pregnancies the Roma girls and parents are reacting about this issue. This is a great success that the “REFLECT” project has achieved. A story of success is the Roma weeding that was organized on 21th of September in the Roma community of Fushe Kruja. The bride and the groom are two beneficiaries of REFLECT project. Adelina Gatali is 17 years old and she has been attending “REFLECT’ project since its beginning. Even the groom Altini (18 years old) has been a regular attendee of this project.
They invited ADRA’s staff on this special day. All the Roma present in the wedding expressed their happiness that ADRA staff took part in this event because for them it was the first time that non Roma people were present to celebrate with them. The bride and the groom were the only ones that were not laughing and enjoying because according to Roma culture they have to give the perception of someone who have left the childhood behind and is matured.
ADRA staff with the bridal couple
The customs and rituals of the marriage vary from one Roma community to another. The special thing in this weeding was that all the Roma children wore traditional Albanian clothes, very unusual for the Roma culture.
Music was the most important part of the celebration. The Roma are talented to dance beautify under the music and for them music signify “Life”.
It was very impressive for ADRA staff to see personally this beautiful part of the Roma culture.

Uniting voluntarily the Roma boys to reconstruct their Community Centre in Fushe Kruja

For more than one year the roof of ADRA Community centre in Fushe Kruja has been damaged as a result it was impossible to proceed with a normal implementation of ADRA’ s projects.
This centre has an important role in the integration of Roma community as it creates a place where Roma and non Roma people can interact in social activities, trainings and meetings.
For the reconstruction of this building some Roma boys, regular beneficiaries of REFLECT project were asked to give their help. Volunteering work is important as it contributes to the process of community development; it’s why ADRA team involved these beneficiaries in this process.
Since the Roma boys are not professionals for the roof repair, ADRA negotiated with the municipality of Fushe Kruja in order to have their professional support to guide the boys.
On the 10th of September 2014 these Roma boys and two specialists from the Municipality collaborated together for the reconstruction of the roof.
Through this action ADRA aims to develop the spirit of commitment and volunteering among the Roma boys which reflects the impact of “REFLECT” project. 


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Two amamzing weeks of summer camp with the Roma children and girls from Fushe Kruja at ADRA’s compound

This year ADRA Albania in collaboration with the Volunteers from the Mission Trip decided to organize a summer camp in order to motivate and prepare the Roma children for the upcoming school year. This summer camp gave to the Roma children an opportunity to learn on their own terms and to normalize the school behavior while adressing all the deficits that had trubeled until now the children in school.  
Despite the academic topic ADRA staff decided that children learn and explore more about the country where they live in. Thus the topic of this summer camp was “Exploring Albania”.

In this summer camp were present 59 Roma children and girls and 2 non-Roma children from Fushe Kruja, 21 volunteers from United Kingdom, USA and Finland who provided a great deal of support to ADRA´s team and together they successfully implemented this summer camp. 

The goal of the summer camp was to invite, teach and entertain two separate groups of children and girls in two different weeks. The first group was composed by children and girls who have attended ADRA´s community Centre in Fushe Kruja and the second group was composed of children and girls who are attending and have dropped out from the public school. Beside the educational purpose of this camp, ADRA team organized different recreational activities for developing children’s and girl’s social and motor skills such as gym, social games, colouring and crafting activities, and visiting different places close to Tirana.
During the first week, the summer camp was attended by children aged 4-8 years old and girls aged 13-16 years old. They participated in different games and activities such as painting, drawing, playing football, singing, dancing, performing in role play etc. A family of artists from Germany visited the summer camp for two days. They explained and showed to the children how to paint beautiful pictures with acrylic colours on little wooden boards and how to create their own necklaces out of soapstone. The children had a lot of fun and were very creative. At the end, every child had a finished artwork which they proudly showed to their families once they were backing home. 

During the second week, children aged from 8 to 12 attended the summer camp. They also participated in various activities as the previous group. During their stay at ADRA’s compound, the children and girls learned to sing a song in English language titled “Head and shoulders, knees and toes“. The children were really excited at the end. 

This summer camp was concluded with small show that the Roma children and girls organized in collaboration with ADRA team in order to say “Thank you” to all the foreign volunteers who worked hard during these two weeks. In the opening three little Roma girls and one little non-Roma girl performed in a ballet show.  After the ballet performance, the grown up Roma girls danced some traditional Roma music. Afterward, two young Roma boys sang traditional Roma music. In the last part of this all the children danced together in a traditional Roma dance. This amazing show was applauded by the volunteers.

Happy and satisfied the children drove back to their Roma community where they shared their beautiful experiences with their families.