Leonard in the yard

In Leonard’s front yard...

In the front yard of a small one-story house, in a Shkodra village, a boy is happily playing with his little goats. Leonard is 13 years old. His greatest joy are the young goats, which he feeds and grazes every day. “I look forward to coming from school and playing with the goats. They are so cute and always stay close to their mother. I am so happy when I take them to graze up in the mountain,” - says Leonard.

There are five members in his family, who have been living in a Shkodra village for many years. Leonard has a brother and sister. His father had previously migrated to Greece, but he could not find a steady job. He decided to return to Albania to look after his parents and have his own family. Pretty soon he created his own haven and his life was filled with three children. Unemployment remained his only problem. Efforts to find a stable job proved unsuccessful, and until a year ago he worked in construction on and off.

The house where he lives today with his family was built by his brother, but since the beginning of the pandemic they have been facing economic hardship because he is unemployed. Currently neither of Leonard’s parents work. They are often supported by his uncles, who live and work abroad, and through their livestock.

School has always been important to their family. Leonard and his siblings attend the school in their village. Leonard’s mother, Tonja, tells us that she is not working due to her husband’s mentality, whereas he has lost his job due to the pandemic.

“My husband became unemployed because of the pandemic, says Tonja. The lock down was devastating to us. We had no income, no one could work, and the situation at home was tense due to the difficulties we were facing. We lost hope that my husband would ever find employment again and we were quite worried for the health of our family members.”

A few years ago, their family faced one of the most difficult moments of their lives. Their 3-year-old nephew lost his life while playing in the river nearby. Tonja’s youngest son was present, and since then he has trouble speaking and has become hyperactive because of the trauma he experienced. For 7 months now, World Vision Albania has been supporting the family by providing psychological services to their youngest son in order to overcome this situation.

Moreover, in the framework of COVID-19 socio-economic recovery and support to families, World Vision has also supported this family from Shkodra.

“Our family is going through a tough economic period caused by the pandemic,” says Tonja. “The goat that you gifted us has greatly helped us in improving our household economy as we produce milk and its byproducts, on which we feed daily.”

The family raised livestock before. They had a cow and a few chicken. Tonja tends to the livestock and she is quite content as she sees the potential for securing income from their byproducts, which in turn will improve the family’s economic situation.

“I wake up early, take the children to school and run back to the livestock, then I do the house chores,” says Tonja. “We now have one goat and two kids, and probably quite soon we will be able to sell the milk and secure some income.”

In light of the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, where many families have faced economic difficulties, World Vision Albania has supported 447 families with food packages and 42 families with livestock in Shkodra municipality to help them through their economic recovery process.