Humanitarian Aid is Where it All Started for Nehemiah Gateway

Jul 26, 2018

In the late 1980s, Arnold Geiger started helping convoysof humanitarian relief to many countries, for example Russia, Romania and Turkey. A 1991 trip to Albania, then newly emerging from 50 years of totalitarian government, profoundly moved him.

Recognizing that the problems Albania faced could not be easily fixed, the Geiger family left behind a secure existence in Germany to work with the people of Albania on recovery from 50 years of poverty and the traumas of totalitarianism.

Conditions then are almost unimaginable today. Nehemiah Gateway’s earliest projects in Albania focused on helping people meet their most basic needs—for food, clothing, shelter, and health. Without meeting those needs, education, employment, and self-determination were a faraway dream. With the committed help of Nehemiah Gateway and others, many Albanians have begun to realize that dream, each in their own way.

Even today, Albania remains a poor country. 34% of the total population live in poverty (defined by World Bank as living on less than $5.50/day), and 5.8% live in absolute poverty (living on less than $1.90 per day). The rate is higher in rural areas, in marginalized groups like the Roma, for people with disabilities, and among the old. Poverty traps people in a battle for survival, limiting their ability to build a self-sufficient future. To achieve self-sufficiency, people first need their most basic needs for food, clothing, and health met.

Nehemiah Gateway provides food bundles to 370 households in Pogradec and the surrounding area, several times a year. Recipients are identified by N.G.’s social work teams. They evaluate circumstances of families that have requested aid, and respond with assistance including food, medicine, counseling, physical therapy, vocational training, donated clothing and shoes, and help accessing medical care.

Additionally, it provides out-patient and in-home care for people with a variety of mental and physical conditions.

Personalized care provided by our social work team respects the dignity of each aid recipient and recognizes their humanity. Once survival needs are met, people can take further steps toward independence. They can learn skills that make employment possible. Children can go to school, greatly increasing their chances of self-sufficiency and a dignified future as adults.

All this aid is offered free of any charge to the people being helped—as it should be. Today, you can be a part of it. A single food bundle, weighing about 40 pounds and containing various food staples as well as soap and detergent, costs $22 US. One month vocational training in sewing costs $30 US (the course is 6 months long). For $100 we can purchase adult diapers for a paralyzed person and a contribution of $200 will ensure that a person with a disability can get a high-quality wheelchair or other necessary equipment.