human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Learning during Lent with Caritas Albania
Erjon Varfi is a 16 year old boy from Albania. Erjon is a part of the program ‘Children and Youth in Albania’ and has been attending the program for 6 years. Erjon comes from a big family with two brothers and two sisters. He is very talented in drawing and very intellectual. Erjon can speak three different languages English, French, and Japanese along with his primary language Shqip (Albanian). He learned to speak many different languages while seeking asylum in France, Germany, and the Netherlands throughout four years of his childhood.
During the COVID-19 outbreak Erjon has been taking the time to sharpen his skills and hobbies. Erjon reports spending time drawing Japanese Manga, practicing welding work he recently learned in a welding course through the help of Caritas Albania, and strengthening his bond with his parents and siblings with more time to spend at home.
Through different activities and discussion the staff of Caritas have been motivating the youth through online communication. The staff motivates the youth to stay active, cook different recipes, and remain connected with friends during this period of isolation. Erjon reports the group has been vital in helping him not feel lonely, get out of bed in the morning, and do something other than sleep all day. He reports through the online group he has been able to forget about COVID-19 and find hope in the difficult situation of staying close to home all day, everyday.
The online communication is like an online freedom window, where we support each other emotionally to pass this situation.
After COVID-19 Erjon is looking forward to hugging his friends, going back to school, and freedom to run and bicycle anywhere again. Erjon also plans on finding a job in welding to help his family. He reports if he cannot find a job he will seek asylum in the EU.
Through COVID-19 and Lent coinciding this year all Caritas staff and youth have given up something. As Lent invites individuals to prepare their hearts and minds for remembering the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, COVID-19 has also helped individuals slow down, remember what is important in life, and dig deeper into their faith. John 16:33 states in the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.
Daily Centre in Tirana