In 2003, Rebecca, an American missionary, was touched by the plight of the children that she saw begging on the streets of Korçë. She established the day center as an outreach of the Kenedi Foundation. The main purpose for the day center is to provide children who spend their days unsupervised on the streets with a safe place to play and be loved.
About the children
Most of the children who come to the day center are from Roma families, but, regardless of ethnicity, they all are coming from families in poverty. The families often have many children and very few resources, so living situations may be crowded, substandard, and filthy. Family support for these kids is lacking, with fathers often either absent or abusive. For these children, “home” is not a safe place. Many are sexually, emotionally, and/or physically abused and exploited by their parents or other relatives. The children may not attend school regularly because their time is more valuable to the family if they are on the streets, begging or searching for wood or metal to sell.
About the day center
The day center is located in the center of Korçë and is open three afternoons a week. The staff leads a group of 18-20 children, ages 6-12, in games, sports, homework help, and Bible lessons. The staff also makes a hot lunch for the children.
“These children usually come from very large families, sometimes having seven or more siblings and have few, if any, personal belongings. In the Day Center, they have their own little cubicle with their name on it. In this cubicle they have clean clothes and can keep small personal items. They love having that little space of their own. Each child can also take a shower here at the center and we wash their clothes.” – Project director, Rebecca LaSavio
All of the children in the program come voluntarily, though they must meet specific qualifications and have the permission of their parents. The children also receive home visits and social assistance from Foundation Kenedi staff members, including contacts with their schools, help with accessing health care, and education to promote healthier living conditions.
The Kenedi Foundation offers follow up support for children as they transition out of the program at around age 12. There is a group for boys[insert link], age 12-16, who meet together with staff from The Foundation to play football and for help with homework. There is also a group for girls[insert link], ages 12-15, who meet together for help with homework and education in other skills, such as cooking, music and dance, and English as a second language.
Invest in loving these kids donate (tax deductible).