The Need is Great!
Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe still struggling to overcome the legacy of 50 years of Communist oppression and isolation from the rest of the world.
Part of this legacy is the inadequate resource available for the treatment and care of those with any kind of disability - physical or mental - and the social stigma attached to those who are disabled.
Such people are often hidden away at home without opportunities for treatment, education or social development. Even when taken out, they find that disabled access to buildings and suitable toilets are the exception rather than the rule.
We seek to serve those with disabilities by opening new doors of opportunity and choice, connecting students with others in meaningful relationships, and cultivating the potential of each individual.
The Valdete Trust is helping to meet the need
The Trust is an independent aid organization bringing hope to the hopeless in Albania through the provision of a daycare centre near the capital of Tirana for those living with muscular dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy and other similar conditions.
We seek to help them achieve some degree of independent living by providing wheelchairs, walking supports and disabled toilet aids. We aim to develop their skills and stimulate their minds through suitable education and training. The Trust also finds local volunteer doctors, nurses and physiotherapists to work at the centre.
A longer-term objective is to promote a greater awareness among the people of Albania of the needs and human rights of the disabled.
The Valdete Trust
The Valdete Trust takes its name from a young Albanian woman, Valdete Gjonpali, whose plight and courage inspired the people of the Isle of Arran in Scotland to raise the money necessary to bring her to Britain for medical treatment.
But Valdete is the exception. In Albania, hundreds, if not thousands, of young people with degenerative diseases remain trapped in their homes, or in institutions, without adequate medical or social support.
Inspired by her example, The Valdete Trust was formed in 2010 and is officially recognised as a Charity (No SCO41787) by the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator.
A normal active and healthy baby up till the age of two, Valdete then contracted meningitis. Unfortunately she was not given the correct treatment at her local hospital and the resulting brain damage led to her developing Cerebral Palsy. She seemed destined either to die or at least spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
However such was her drive and personality that, even without formal schooling she taught herself three European languages, including English, by watching television at home. In 2006 when she was 16, she was found by volunteer workers from Arran who were so impressed by her character that they led a fundraising campaign back home to see if her disability could be overcome.
Eventually in 2009, pioneering orthopaedic surgery in Blackpool hospital straightened her deformed foot and opened up the possibility of her walking one day. She was able to return home to have physiotherapy to learn to walk. She continues to improve.