“To create a safe place for kids that no one else is loving and to love them so that they may understand the love of God.” -Rebecca LaSavio
Creating the day center for street kids provided more extensive insight into the lives of the children involved in the program. A shelter was started in 2005 after the staff at the center found out that there were girls being exploited and living in unthinkable situations at home. The shelter eventually became a safe home registered with the Albanian authorities. In 2013 the Kenedi Foundation renovated a larger house, which is now home to six girls.
Exploitation in Albania
Exploitation of children, especially girls, is a widespread problem in Albania. Albanian Social Services and the Police recognize the need for an active approach in dealing with this problem, but lack the resources necessary to deal with it. Additionally, offenders are often released quickly from police custody, while children have to live the rest of their lives with the trauma. About one in four Albanian girls has been sexually abuse. They are often emotionally damaged for life and left without a bright future.
The Safe House
Girls who have been removed from these situations are often emotionally scarred and traumatized, but at the safe house they get a chance to rebuild their lives and reclaim their childhood. We also have an apartment connected to the Safe Home allowing us to care for and coach these girls into young-adulthood. We can provide a home and loving care for girls aged 6-18.
At the Safe Home, we try as much as possible to create the structure and environment of a healthy family home. The five staff members do everything normal parents would do, such as taking the girls to the dentist, going to parent meetings at school, etc. In addition, they give the girls personal guidance to help them create healthy habits, skills, and expectations for life. This requires patience and wisdom because each of the girls has their own story and set of traumas.
At the beginning of the year, we welcome Lorena Stoceni as the new director of the home. She has spent the last few months getting to know the staff and the girls while getting adjusted to her new role. This position may be new for her but she is no stranger to the mission of caring for people.
She has been apart of the church for many years now and has witnessed the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ and she wishes to share this with the young girls in our home. When asked about the vision of the safe house, she said,”Our goal is to keep them safe, to teach them life skills, to help them work through emotions, and to understand the power of God’s love and the freedom found in Christ’s Salvation.” She is pictured below with her husband and two sons.
Help these girls and invest in their future and donate (tax deductible).