Pogradec Multi-Functional Center, Special Premise that Makes Difference
By Andrea Duri
Albanian Daily News
Published May 27, 2018
There are stories which really need to be told, even though in Albania very often they do not get the attention they deserve. You can name them with certainty as histories of success because their results directly influence the lives of many kids and families. Such is the case of the Multi-Functional Center of Pogradec, a warm shelter that has as its mission the assistance of people with special needs.
The center was opened 24 years ago with a number of special education classes, but with time immediate interventions were needed.
These days it is a totally renovated modern building with multiple capacities where there are offered services for 46 kids and youths with special needs thanks to a project implemented by UNDP with funds from the Government of Switzerland.
The great passion and will to have a society in which no one is excluded, are guides of the daily work in this center, said its director, Anila Bebri, who has been engaged with this cause years now.
"Working with these kids is amazing. We are focused on their improvement and education, by carrying out common and individual programs. The project of this center consists in offering communitarian services and inclusive education for kids and young people with special needs in urban and rural areas of Pogradec. We also work with physical therapy treatment. 12 of the kids also go in kindergartens and schools, while the others only come to the center".
With the renovation of the building in 2017, improvements are obvious.
"We now have more opportunities. We now have a staff of 10 professionals who support kids in a number of directions. In the center there are counseling sessions with social workers", director of the center said.
But the kids and youths of this center have been noted for their paintings and their work. They have been part of exhibitions and have taken part in a number of Olympics outside Albania, where they have been awarded prices for their talent.
Kids' parents praise the center as a huge help but they have an appeal for Pogradec Municipality.
"I am very happy with the progress of my son and everything the center offers but I ask the municipality to help us with the transportation. It is very hard for us to bring and take the kids from the center every day", one of the mothers said while the other parents shared the same opinion.
When asked for the problem, Pogradec Mayor Eduart Kapri said that he is aware of the situation and work is being done to find a solution. He highlighted that Pogradec Municipality is maximally engaged in politics which cover people with special needs, adding that in order for the mission to be accomplished, everyone's contribution is needed. In Pogradec live a total of 496 kids with special needs.
Multifunctional Center of Pogradec is supported by UNDP program "Leave No One Behind", financed by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The program currently offers the betterment of social services in 18 municipalities of Albania. Program is focused on the groups in need, especially people with special needs, Roma and Egyptian community.