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Family is the common denominator of humankind. We are all part of a family and everything that belongs to us, such as the walls and furniture of our homes, make sense when we share them with our families. Nevertheless, family members go through hard times, happiness and joy just like in every relationship.

This was going through my mind while waiting to meet a family from Durrës. Elsa lives with her husband and their two children, Arsjeda, 13, and Alkejdi, 11.

Their village is situated 20 minutes away from Durrës, but due to the dilapidated infrastructure and lack of transportation, she and her husband go to the city only when they need food or look for jobs.

Their village life consists of a plethora of challenges. Given that there is no school transport for their children, they are obliged to accompany them on foot. In addition to the difficult daily life and failing to meet their children’s needs, 2 years ago Elsa was hit by a car while returning home from her children’s school. She had her two children on one side and her sister-in-law's two children on the other side when she was hit by a speeding car on an unlit road.

It was a dark afternoon. The road was depreciated and unlit, and there were no sidewalks,” said Elsa. “After I got hit by the car, I rolled over a few meters away, but fortunately the children saved me. My sister-in-law’s daughter was the oldest of the children and she called our family members, who took me to the hospital. Until recently, I still had problems with my leg and I used crutches for one year. I couldn’t move or work.”

Elsa has found the strength to move forward and overcome life challenges. She wants to be a role model for her children not only through words, but actions. Elsa told us that although she gets on well with her husband, sometimes they have fights due to health and economic issues. They are both unemployed and have been faced with numerous challenges in providing for their family. Prior to the pandemic, her husband, Sajmir, used to take odd jobs in construction and agriculture. Before the accident, Elsa also applied at the Employment Office, but she could not take any job for they were far away and she lacked transport.

Thus, the only thing that the village offered them was cultivating seasonal products and various produce in their land and selling them on the street.  

We have some land and we planted seasonal produce,” said Elsa. “My husband couldn’t work due to the pandemic and the lockdown, and the only way to provide for our children was by working the land and cultivating produce. Livelihood is very difficult, but despite the challenges with the pandemic, we are gathering the strength to get back up.”

They have joined World Vision Albania programs, initially partaking in the Celebrating Families program. During the lockdown, they participated in the #stayathomefamilychallenge online program, and recently joined the Positive Parenting training program.

Your online program during the lockdown was a light at the end of the tunnel, because we managed to share our family joys, concerns and fear with a group of other families. We never felt alone,” said Elsa, who stumbled upon difficulties with family time management at the time.

Elsa’s family has recently become one of the 38 families, who participated in Positive Parenting trainings that took place in Durrës, between November and December 2020. During the trainings, they learned how to demonstrate positive attitudes and received information on the best practices of positive parenting, so that they could establish a caring and protective environment for their sons and daughters.

“This program taught me how to support my children and my husband in overcoming the most difficult of times, through positive attitudes and continues communication and learning togetherThe program also enabled us to grow closer, spend more time and play together. We played with our children like never before,” said Elsa.

For two years, World Vision Albania provided Elsa’s family food packages, which lightened the heavy economic burden by offering them more chances to meet their children’s educational needs.

We benefited from a multifaceted support. Psychological counseling, food products, stationery items and a tablet for my children’s online education,” said Elsa. “Owing to the food packages you provided to us, I managed to timely purchase my children’s schoolbooks and items, so that they could feel equal to their peers. My children also could attend online classes, just like their peers, owing to the tablet you provided to us. They did not skip any online class during the COVID-19 pandemic.”