Albania is breaking away from centuries of domination by foreign powers and internal oppressors. For generation the political, economical, social and religious life of the Albanian people has been ruled by their oppressors. This has left deep marks in the people.
In the beginning of 1991, with the fall of communism, a new period in the history of the Albanian people began. The nation is now making its first hesitant steps on the road towards democracy. Their industry has become obsolete and most of the factories are closed down, resulting in more than 70% of the population being unemployed. In the initial stages after the turnover, survival depended mainly on emergency aid. Now, structural development is slowly taking off, both through support from different western countries, international organisations like the EC, FAO, and the World Bank, as well from a number of Islamic countries.
Yet, besides the great economical need, the spiritual need is at least as poignant. All over the country mosques are springing up. The pressing questions are: On which values will this new, emerging society be built? And who will rule the future Albania?
GiM Italy has been involved in Albania since 1994. A couple is leading missionary work in Burrel along with a few staff-members. Among other things their work includes running a home for handicapped children, helping poor families by constructing houses and distributing food and medicine, providing desks and chairs for a mountain village school, as well as mental and spiritual support to discouraged people.