Thirty years ago, Zoje and Skender were happily married in the town of Dojan in Tropojë, Albania. At that time, the country was in the grips of a brutal communist regime. Despite a crumbling economy, Skender was able to hold down a job and offer their five children a real start in life.
A world torn apart
But in 2009, their world fell apart. The couple’s 13-year-old son committed suicide. A few years later, Skender lost his job. With little hope for the future, and struggling to deal with the loss of her brother, their 17-year-old daughter tragically took her own life.
Against the odds
Together with a local organisation, Dorcas is helping the family start over. To boost household income, we built a chicken shed in their garden and a bird incubator. Skender and Zoje quickly grew their farm with ducks, turkeys and a few hundred chickens – and, with new-found purpose, sold their eggs and meat to the community. Restaurants and hotels have even added their produce to the menu, remarking at the ‘excellent quality’.
Zoje Buçpapaj said: “This is the first time someone has reallly helped us. It’s not only given us a shot at a better life but also the confidence to keep going. God’s ways are infinite. Dorcas has brought us light, in the darkest of times.”
A brighter future
Integration Association, our partner organisation in Tropoja, believes working with families like these is synonymous with our wider mission.
Ermira Kolbibaj, a representative from the Association added: “These people have suffered unimaginable loss in their life – but have also found the strength to move forward. Their gratitude, and the hope that we can stir, is the greatest reward to us.”
As change came for Zoje and Skender, it too has transpired for hundreds of people across rural Albania. In 2018, Dorcas helped 600 families overcome adversity by helping them build a farm or greenhouse.
29 April 2019