It's always busy at the Korce Development Center for Children with Disabilities.
Every day, parents enter the building while holding their children’s hands tightly.
Their eyes show the fatigue of caring for a child with a disability. Despite this, they never give up hope and continually fight for better treatment and acceptance for their children.
Klevis, 12, and his parents come to the center twice a week. They live in a small village about 30 minutes away from the town of Korca. At an early age, he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Surgery was needed. Luckily, it was successful.
At the age of five, he began walking.
Klevis was evaluated at the Community Center for Children with Disabilities in April 2021. The center’s multidisciplinary team, composed of the psychologist, the developmental educator, the physiotherapist, and the speech therapist, assessed his situation based on the manual for the implementation of care services’ standards for persons with disabilities.
"Our son had great difficulty walking and even moving." We felt hopeless. One day we learned of the center and reached out to them. "Right after that, Klevis started getting physical therapy, followed by social interaction therapy," says Klevi’s mother.
For more than 18 months, Klevis went to the center every day to get his therapy. The route from his home to the center was particularly challenging. He would leave his house and walk for 30 minutes to the bus stations, then another 45 minutes to the community center.
Imagine what this meant for little Klevis, who had extreme difficulty walking and moving.
He persevered in the face of difficulties. Since neither of his parents were employed, the family was unable to afford other means of transportation. The monthly disability allowance for the child totals 12,000 leks.
In the middle of February 2022, Klevis stopped attending therapy because his condition hadn’t significantly improved. He then went to Turkey to see a doctor, who advised immediate surgery because his condition could leave him unable to speak or move.
The surgery was successful, and Klevis was able to resume his therapy shortly thereafter. Klevis’s parents are very pleased that the first results of the treatment he receives at the center are starting to become noticeable.
The physiotherapist’s goals appear to be "well on their way."
Klevis is now able to sit in the chair by himself. When he managed to climb the stairs for the first time one day, his parents and the center staff witnessed a "miracle."
Today, he can climb and descend the stairs. He can stand more steadily and with better posture. He can perform a few movements on his own. He also follows instructions better.
Klevis is one of the children with disabilities who receive services at the Community Center for Children with Disabilities in Korca. The center was established in March 2021 in the context of the UN joint program "Leave No One Behind." Currently, the center serves 30 girls and boys who have been diagnosed with intellectual, physical, or sensory disabilities. A team of five different professionals assesses children's support needs, establishes individual development plans, and offers individual and group therapy.
The center provides a variety of activities and educational and recreational resources for children to enjoy and interact with each other while learning and practicing new skills.
This much-needed service is made possible thanks to the partnership with the Municipality of Korca. The municipality plans the finances for the center's administration, personnel, daily operations, and maintenance.
Klevis’s parents know that the treatment is far from over and that a long journey still lies ahead of them. They hope that something better awaits their son.
They are ready as a family to reach for it with courage and determination, work for it, and fight for it.
"Leave no one behind" is a United Nations joint project implemented by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and UN Women. With unwavering support and long-standing commitment from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the project works to boost opportunities for vulnerable communities to access social care services wherever they are.
15 such centers have been established across Albania
375 children with disabilities benefit from those services