COVID-19
The pandemic threatens vulnerable families.

Klara, Klea and Erjon, 8,8,12,
could reintegrate in Albania

The twin girls Klara and Klea and their brother Erjon live with their parents in a small village in Northern Albania. Tdh facilitated their reintegration after their asylum appeal was turned down in Germany.

Poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and unavailability of services in Albania have been identified as the main causes of emigration. Forced returns have increased over the past years, for many disqualify for asylum in Western Europe. The returnees face major challenges, particularly to reintegrate back into the education system. Their social and economic conditions are often tougher than prior to their departure.

The story of the family of Klara, Klea and Erjon is no exception. Due to poverty, the family migrated to Germany in 2016 to seek asylum in view of finding better opportunities. “I dreamt of going to Germany for two years, to work hard and earn some money to build our own house in Albania, because we don’t have one here,” says their mother. Consequently, they invested all their savings to make their “dream” come true. But the reality was different: in Germany, they lived in a refugee camp for four months as they waited for a response to their asylum appeal. “The conditions in the camp were very bad; my kids were always getting sick. And while you wait for the response, children can’t go to school,” she says.

The family disqualified for asylum and had to return to Albania penniless and without preparation for their reintegration. A child protection worker, who was trained and is regularly assisted by Tdh, took over the case and worked to improve their condition. Tdh focuses on proper reintegration of the returned children, or protects those at risk of unsafe migration. This is done in collaboration with  communities, civil society, organisations and state structures to give children access to the education system and social services. Tdh increases these actor’s capacities with training so that they can adequately help returned children and their families reintegrate.

An income-generating project and school support

The family of Klara, Klea and Erjon received a small house for shelter from their relatives, but it was in poor shape. Tdh helped them renovate the dwelling and gave them funds to buy a cooker and a washing machine. In addition, the family was granted capital to start an income-generating activity. Now, they run a small shop at the entrance of their courtyard, which financially meets their daily basic needs.

Their children attended extra tuition classes at our after-school services in order to recover for the months they missed school. “We like going to school, we have friends there,” says one of the twin sisters. They also participate in the psychosocial activities at the Tdh community centre, where they interact with their peers and develop their cognitive and creative abilities.

Our child protection workers continue to monitor the situation closely. If necessary, further support will be offered. For Tdh, reintegration is a continuous process that requires long term measures and guidance, in view of enabling the returned families to attain social and financial autonomy.

Photo credit : ©Tdh