Sanitation kits for children to practice hygiene habits
Having the right supplies and keeping families safe
It is week four of the lockdown in Albania, and we traveled down to Korca, southeastern of Albania, a city dedicated to child-friendly policies, but now struggling to meet the needs of the most -at risk families, due to COVID- 19 crisis. As planned with the municipality, we delivered hygiene kits to ensure the safety of families from the Covid-19 spread. Washing your hands with soap and water seems a simple act and some people may take these for granted, but there are still many children in Albania, who don't have basic handwashing facilities at home.
While handing out the supplies, we stopped with one of the families in the outskirts of the city and met Muhamet, six -years -old. He was sitting alone on the doorstep and was very keen to see who was coming and what they were bringing. After four weeks of quarantine in Albania is staying at home with his parents, just like his peers. But, unlike the other children who have brothers or sisters, or toys to play with, Muhamet had nothing of the kind.
"I am bored! I cannot go out to play with my friends around the neighborhood and mom does not let me go out. I like to go to kindergarten, because there I have toys to play with" - said Muhamet.
His parents, Nazmi and Hyrija, are understandably upset, and they are not really willing to speak to anyone. Their house is feeling cold and humid, and they still need burning wood even though the weather has gotten a bit warmer because Korça is a cold town. Hand washed clothes have been laid out in the yard. Hyjrija said she is sparingly using soap and detergent to wash them, because "there is nothing to buy the hygiene kits with".
"The TV says that we have to wash our hands as often as we can and keep everything clean, but it is hard when you have no money for cleaning stuff, and we pray to God every night to keep us safe" – Hyjrija told us.
Nazmi's living depend on daily or occasional work in the informal sector and is based mainly in collecting and selling scrap materials. Now, everything is blocked due to social restrictions. The economic aid payments they get from the municipality do not make ends meet.
"We have always been hard up for money, but now we are feeling it even more and don't know how we will get through. There are many just like me, but I am worried about my child and if I will be able to provide the needs of my family" – Muhamet's father, Nazmi said.
The Municipality of Korça had been able to mobilize a few NGOs to provide staple foods. But the families said this was not enough. While the Albanian government is scaling up social protection measures – by providing social safety nets, UNICEF in Albania is presenting the government with cases of families in need to buy basic commodities, in order to provide the very minimum for human dignity. We hope this temporary solution will provide Muhamet's family and others with access to essential services and make them feel safe and protected.