Out and About in the Name of Charity

Out and About in the Name of Charity

Jun 25, 2024

We are in Gjirokastër, one of the oldest towns in Albania. The minibus takes us over hill and dale, along steep, winding cobbled streets and dusty country lanes, past the historic castle and down to the banks of the Drin. Arjan, the director of Nehemiah Gateway Gjirokastër, is on the road here every day. He distributes food and relief supplies to those in need, collects children for the afternoon program and is there for anyone who needs help. It‘s all about the poorest of the poor, many of them from the Roma community, which is heavily discriminated against. Arjan says: „I love working with people from different social groups and helping them with their questions and problems.“

It is moving to see the plight of the elderly Roma women he regularly visits with social worker Orjana and brings them food and relief supplies. They have to live in tents and are completely on their own. There is no such thing as social welfare for them.

Poor families are also supported, especially the children. They can eat and spend their afternoons at the NG Centre. A protected environment, loving care and help with homework bear fruit. It is not uncommon for them to be among the best in their school class. The first step towards overcoming poverty and marginalization has been taken.


Kristina is inextricably linked to the work. Officially, she is already retired, but you can still find her every day at NG, at the afternoon program and other activities. She is like a loving grandmother to the children. She started working as a family helper at NG 24 years ago, has since been the director of NG Gjirokastër and member of the foundation’s board. But she prefers to work in the background, as she does today, very close to the people. She says: "I love working with the children, changing their lives so that they don‘t have to live like their parents, who can‘t even read or write. We help them to take their lives into their own hands."

Kristina draws strength and energy from her faith. She remembers: "When my mother-in-law died in 2000, it led to a major personal crisis. The staff at NG looked after me back then, more than my own family. Through their respect and appreciation, I learned what it means that God loves me. From then on, NG Gjirokastër and the associated church community became my second home and family."

Kristina is convinced:

"Nehemiah Gateway has alleviated poverty in this city and healed many hearts and wounds. Because in addition to the help we provided, we always accompanied and counseled people, were a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on and showed them respect and appreciation."


"There isn‘t a family in Gjirokastër that hasn‘t been touched by NG‘s help."


The small team in Gjirokastër is welded together by a strong bond: biblical values such as mercy, forgiveness, respect and integrity are their moral compass.

Arjan explains: "As a Christian, I believe in certain basic values and I have found these values again at Nehemiah Gateway. We spend almost a third of our lives at work, so it‘s important that we maintain good relationships. For me, our team is like a family, we treat each other with respect and maintain open communication."

Social worker Orjana adds: "I went to church as a child and had the desire to help people in need, just as the Word of God says. At NG, this desire has become a reality. The special thing about this work is that we have a positive impact on the people we help."

**Please click HERE to watch a video of the work in Gjirokastër.**