Elira* could see that her mother was in great danger. Without hesitation, she rushed into traffic to try and save her. A desperate move.
Elira’s father was an alcoholic who beat his wife continually, and brutally. He dragged the family from Peqin in Albania to Greece for a new life. But he was the same old drunken bully. Then he abandoned his family. Life became unbearable for Elira’s mother. One day, she rushed out into a busy road, in an attempt to take her own life. Twelve-year-old Elira didn’t think twice – she just moved. Bravely stepping out to try and help her mother, she was struck by a car and severely injured.
Elira had saved her mother, but the action she took came close to costing her life. The recovery from her injuries was long, painful and difficult. Eventually, when Elira was well enough, the family returned to Peqin, where they first came to the attention of the A2B team, FSCI’s official partners in Albania. Elira dealt with feelings of depression and helplessness as the family struggled without a regular income. Her dream of attending school and completing her education seemed out of reach.
Bereft of hope, and fearful for her family and future, Elira came to the House of Opportunity. Slowly, but surely, Elira’s desperation gave way to a small spark of hope as she found security, acceptance and the hint of something better as she resumed her studies and committed fully to the programme. Her natural concern for people began to express itself as she took the time to encourage and help the other House residents.
A2B co-director Elona Deliu, told us, “Elira began to be the most beloved sister of the House of Opportunity family; she taught the other inhabitants, helped them to overcome the difficulties they faced in their lives … they shared the things of their heart! Elira started a new life – to take joy and give joy to the House!”
This joy increased when Elira’s younger sister joined the programme in October! Elira is now helping the other residents in the House by leading some of the regular open sessions where they discuss the challenges and issues they face. Elira’s contemporaries are familiar with having to make desperate choices, and in her adopted role as loving big sister to all the young people, she is helping them to come to terms with their past and look forward with hope. And whilst it’s a wonder, perhaps it’s no surprise – even when in great need herself, Elira has always been ready to move to help others.