Pogradec: Alternative Builders
Helping volunteers to run the center by providing food and clothing for Albanian illegal immigrants and foreign refugees.
|Project Title||Pogradec: Alternative Builders|
|Lead Name(s)||Jo Hunter & Lia Quartapelle|
|Other Organisations||Christiana Evangelica Church|
Lia Quartapelle and Jo Hunter originally set out to help rehabilitate the village of Pogradec, Albania. The community had suffered due to the civil war, and they were going to help out by building houses and roads. Shortly before Lia and Jo set off for Albania, they were told that the situation was too dangerous. So, they made plans to visit Otranto, Puglia, where they worked in a temporary centre for refugees.
Center Don Tonino Bello is a refugee centre where illegal immigrants are detained. Most individuals stay at the centre for several days before obtaining asylum-seeker status or being sent back to their home nations. Lia and Jo were tasked with helping to run the centre along with a group of volunteers. By the end of their time at the centre, they were fully responsible for the daily operations.
The work day started at 7am, when groups of up to 40 refugees arrived. Li and Jo organised the distribution of clothing, and prepared breakfast. At noon, they prepared lunch, and afternoons were spent speaking with the refugees to learn more about their experiences and backgrounds.
After spending three weeks at Center Don Tonino Bello, Lia and Jo regard the experience as an important step along the UWC ideal of being a service to others. They gained a deeper understanding of the nature of service.
What they said:
I cannot forget what we learnt and the service we gave in 2001, and now, in my new position as MP, I am very proud of what we did and grateful for the opportunity I had.
— Jo Hunter & Lia Quartapelle