For many children growing up in poverty in Albania, family life is all about survival.
Eight-year-old Xhenifer lives with her parents and siblings in a remote village in northwest Albania. When Xhenifer’s father can’t find work locally, he travels to Montenegro, which borders northwest Albania. Here, Albanians fill jobs shunned by local workers because of the low wages, hardship, and poor living conditions.
Seasonal work in Montenegro is not only tough on fathers like Fatmir. It’s also tough on their children and wives when they’re gone for months, and even more stress is placed on a family that is already struggling. Fatmir’s wife, Irena, must manage the household and four children in poverty, not always able to provide them with everything they need.
Xhenifer plays with Joel at camp.
Xhenifer and her family have recently been enrolled on Mission Without Borders’ family sponsorship program – and one of the wonderful ways that MWB has already blessed the family is through a summer camp: a fun-filled seaside holiday for Xhenifer, her 10-year- old sister Xhesika, and younger brother Joel.
“At home, Xhenifer hardly smiles or speaks – but here at camp she is blooming,” said Blerina. She is the family coordinator who provides ongoing support to Xhenifer’s family – and she attended the summer camp too.
Kids love attending summer camp every year.
Over the first few days of summer camp, as Blerina chatted with Xhenifer, the little girl told her about her biggest fear.
“I’m scared of the dark and Joel always scares me, to tease me,” she said.