DEADLY floods in Albania have prompted a volunteer worker from Leamington to call for help back home.
Laura Kite helped at a children’s centre in Albania’s capital Tirana last September. While there she saw extreme poverty, with families living in shacks and surviving on one meal a day.
The 20-year-old has kept in touch with many of those she met while volunteering in the poor country, and has been horrified at hearing about the devastation floods in the area have caused. At least three people have been killed and thousands of homes
have been washed away.
Former Kings High School pupil Laura told the Observer: “Working in Albania was an amazing and life changing experience. The people live in homes basically made from rubbish and their community is on the banks of the river.
“I was lucky enough to teach an English class each day at a centre for deprived children. Working there you realise how little help they receive from the governments so in events like this flood they are essentially on their own.
“I am in touch with the women who work at the centre as we developed a great friendship while I was there. They recently contacted me to tell me about the floods which have destroyed the community.”
The floods are the worst to hit Albania in living memory and have forced evacuation of more than 500 families in the capital.
Knowing she could not ignore the suffering of her friends, Laura – who is currently studying at the University of Birmingham – is trying to raise money to help the affected families.
She said: “While I was in Albania the children took me to their community and I saw how close their shack-like houses are to the river. I know that as this river has risen all of their homes will be destroyed as well as their few belongings. The children are now without toys and school equipment in a very cold environment. The money I am raising is to be put towards military tents which can house them while they rebuild their community, as well as food and drink to sustain them.
“These children really changed my life and I want to help them in any way I can.”
And Laura is planning to return to the country later this year to offer her help to those she met last year.
She said: “I have left part of my heart in Albania with the children and I cannot wait to see them all again.”
Visit www.gofundme.com/gtj4r8us to donate and help those affected by the floods.