Reaching the young through community development in Albania
He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
Psalm 78:5–7 NLT
Growing up to accomplish all your dreams and goals in a small rural village is tough. When you are a Roma girl living in Albania, it is almost impossible. After the collapse of communism in the early 1990s, wide-scale economic collapse and social unrest ravaged Roma communities all across Albania. Roma families were torn apart as fathers left to find work, and young children were forced to drop out of school to support the remaining family members. Young Roma girls were particularly vulnerable to exploitation as Roma culture forced them to get married at very young ages.
WPS has partnered with local churches to reach the poor marginalized Roma communities all throughout Albania. For over 15 years, our partners have reached out to many young girls like Alikda. They have seen the amazing work of God transform devastated villages into God-honoring communities full of hope and life through the service of young men and women just like Alikda.
Alikda grew up in the small village of Baltez in the aftermath of the chaos that swept the nation of Albania in the 1990s. Her father abandoned her and her mother was illiterate. Growing up in a poor broken home left her self-conscious and shy. She would dream about going to school to become a clothes designer, knowing she could never afford it. Her life was headed to become like all others, a young bride, but God intervened.
She started to attend children meetings at a church in her village and began to learn that God had a purpose and plan for her life. She realized that the adversity she faced was something God would use to help others. The gospel message took root in young Alikda and she gave her life to Jesus Christ.
The church became the family and support system that she so desperately needed. It provided a place for her to challenge the status quo for young Roma girls and the thinking of her community members. Soon after her salvation, Alikda began serving in the church and teaching young children the importance of a relationship with God and the value of serving each other.
Today, Alikda is a church leader who continues to serve the youth and is part of the church’s financial board. Her desire is to serve God by serving her community. She feels truly blessed to teach the younger generation and watch them grow and serve in the church.
Despite the daunting challenges she faced as a young girl, she has found peace and purpose beyond cultural expectations. She is able to teach the young generation to break the cycles of poverty found in the Roma communities while encouraging them to reach for their dreams and goals.
The impact of your support to WPS continues to transform communities all around the world. As the gospel message of hope and life is taught, more men and women like Alikda continue to be a light in their communities. Our goal is to see people transformed in the name of Christ, and with your help, we can do it. Thank you for your support!