A Grandmother's Love Moves Mountains: One day at the Resilience Center in Kurbin

UNDP Albania

April 23, 2024
Mrika Rama, a grandmother who selflessly cares for her grandchildren with unwavering dedication and love.

In Kurbin, USAID and UNDP’s Resilience Center has provided hope for vulnerable children and families. Within its walls, stories of resilience, perseverance, and transformation unfold daily.  At the core of one of these stories is Mrika Rama, a grandmother who selflessly cares for her grandchildren with unwavering dedication and love.

Mrika's journey begins in a distant village, where she has devoted herself to nurturing her family and attending to their needs. Amidst the tranquility of rural life, her world is forever changed with the arrival of her grandchildren, Erisian and Diona. Her love for them is unmatched.

Soon, Erisian and Diona’s parents find out that both children, each with their own unique challenges, require specialized care and support.

Erisian faces speech impediments, while Diona grapples with physical limitations that demand physiotherapy.  For years, their parents and grandmother’s quest for suitable services for Erisian and Diona proved fruitless. The remote nature of their village, combined with lack of specialized services and limited resources, leaves her feeling helpless and isolated. Yet, undiscouraged by obstacles, Mrika refuses to concede defeat, driven by an unwavering determination to support the parents and, most importantly, secure a better future for Erisian and Diona.

One day, while on her way to pick up the grandchildren from school, Mrika learns about the Kurbin Resilience Center from another parent. It is described as a center of support and empowerment for families like hers.  Soon after reaching out to the staff of the Center, Mrika had a newfound sense of hope and belonging.

A Grandmother's Love Moves Mountains: One day at the Resilience Center in Kurbin

Mrika accompanies Erisian and Diona to the Resilience Center every day. Upon arrival, they are greeted by dedicated professionals who offer tailored services to meet the children's needs. Through speech therapy for Erisian and physiotherapy for Diona, the siblings embark on a journey of growth and development previously deemed unattainable.

As weeks turn into months, Mrika continues to witness firsthand the progress that her grandchildren make under the guidance of the Center's experts. With each passing session, Erisian 's confidence blossoms as he learns to articulate his thoughts and express himself with newfound clarity. Similarly, Diona 's physical strength and mobility improved, allowing her to navigate the world with newfound independence and grace.

"Each small step forward speaks of Diona's determination and resilience. I witness progress in her every day as she begins to gain control over her movements," says Drilona, the Resilience Center physiotherapist.

Yet, for Mrika, the impact of the Resilience Center extends far beyond the confines of therapy rooms and classrooms. It ignites a passion within her to tirelessly advocate for the rights and well-being of all children with disabilities in her community. In conversations with residents in her village, she becomes a vocal proponent for seeking help and support, dispelling the stigma and reluctance that often shroud discussions around disability.

A team of dedicated professionals, including speech therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers, and teachers, provide essential services to children and vulnerable groups. 34 children with disabilities receive support at the Resilience Center, turning it into a sanctuary of newfound hope and support. In addition, the Center empowers vulnerable people with life, educational, employability and advocacy skills as per their needs. “Since the opening of the Center in October 2023, 104 individuals have benefited from the multidisciplinary social care support,” says Edlira Papavangjeli, UNDP Programme Manager.  

"Every child deserves the chance to access these services. It starts with knowing about the Center," Mrika declares, her voice resounding with conviction. "No parent should ever feel ashamed or afraid to seek help for their child.

These services at the Resilience Center are a lifeline for our children, and it is our duty to ensure that every child has access to them."

Her words resonate deeply within the community, sparking conversations and inspiring action among parents and caregivers. Through her advocacy, Mrika has become the strong voice of the center.

In the eyes of Mrika Rama, the journey is far from over. Yet she remains full of hope that both her grandchildren will forge ahead.

The Kurbin Resilience Center is one of three Resilience Centers established as part of the “Improving Community Resilience" programme, funded by USAID/Albania and implemented by UNDP and run by World Vision. The program works in harmony with the EU's endeavors in social protection and inclusion, aiding Albania's compliance with its obligations under the acquis.

Strategically located in Kurbin, Durrës, and Lezhë, these Resilience Centers identify and support the most vulnerable women, girls, men, and boys within their respective municipalities, ensuring they do not get left behind.

Their mission is to connect these individuals with existing services and advocate for additional resources. Services provided in the Resilience Centers encompass a wide spectrum, including psychosocial support, speech therapy, physiotherapy, afterschool programs, positive parenting, mobile services, life skills, economic empowerment, and employment mentoring.  Emergency, rehabilitation, and reintegration support is given to domestic violence survivors.

If you ever find yourself in need of social care services, do not hesitate to reach out to the Resilience Centers in Kurbin, Durrës, and Lezhë. There, you will receive dedicated and professional assistance.