Share God’s love with the people of the hospitable, engaging, yet poverty-challenged nation of Albania. Engage with women through home-making skills, support children with special developmental needs, encourage children and youth through clubs and activities, and support families in Roma/Gypsy communities, or Afghan refugees.
Albania’s almost three million people are still from one of the poorest European nations. With high unemployment, ageing infrastructure, social and economic challenges, Albania’s population is young - over 75 per cent are under 55 years old.
Traditionally a rural economy, many people have left the countryside to seek work in the city or in other neighbouring countries. Albanians are particularly proficient at learning other languages and cultures to participate in what God is doing both inside and outside their borders.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake in 2019, the Covid-pandemic and its consequences for local families have challenged the team in Albania in the last few years.
“House visits are still a big part of what we do,” explains a team member. “These really give the message that we care. We sit with them, drink coffee, laugh and cry together. We also encourage the kids to discover any skills they might have that will help them earn an income that’s not scavenging, begging or relying on others.” By building hope and self-esteem, teens in marginalised communities can break the cycle of poverty and low education.
Officially, there is religious freedom in Albania after years of imposing state beliefs and declared atheism. However, to date only 0.6 per cent of the population are believed to be part of a community of Jesus followers, living alongside a Muslim majority of 62 per cent. Fifteen different people groups are represented in Albania, with thousands yet to know God’s love personally. Many international groups work alongside national believers, both in the cities and rural areas.
Come to the capital city of Tirana, with its multicultural population of refugees, young people and families. Share the love of God by helping men recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, or simply by making friends. Come to Durrës, to support those with special needs or from a low-income area. Or to Lushnjë to befriend nearby village children or youth. In Vlora an international worker lives alongside national Jesus followers, getting to know the Roma/Gypsy community. The small mountainous town of Fushë-Arrëz welcomes physiotherapists to live, care for and work alongside its inhabitants.
By networking with local believers to provide practical help in Albania communities are built, national followers of Jesus strengthened, and God’s profile raised.
Whether you come for a long or short time, or whether you pray, or invest in lives through financial support, there are many ways for you to share God’s love with the people in Albania.