In Albania about 10% of the disabled children is affected by neuropsychiatric pathologies and only less than 1% of them has the
chance to receive some kind of assistance. The rest does not receive any kind of treatment and the majority lives in isolation, hidden behind household walls.
A 2002 study on Albanian quality of life revealed that 14% of children under five years lived in conditions of malnutrition, direct cause of neuropsychiatric disorders. Furthermore,, many of the children with mental suffering lived in total isolation, hidden within the walls of their homes and others segregated into public mental institutes, without any form of contacts outside.
In the asylum of Berat, at that time, there were about 50 among children and adolescents, in unimaginable conditions, lack of hygiene and absolute, total lack of care. Reached adult age they were transferred to the mental asylum for adults where the conditions were even worse.. A fate so marked, without any chance of redemption, a life lived in isolation and abuse.
From 2002 to 2005 Cittadinanza, in partnership with Albanian ShenAsti Foundation, has supported and managed a day care centre for children with mental and physical disabilities, within Berat.
The project was achieved to offer children and young people of the public mental asylum, a chance to access to rehabilitation services and at the same time the opportunity to go out during the day from the Institute. The Center has extended its activities also to children coming from families, using a rehabilitation and social integration model.
From 2007 to 2010 Citizenship has achieved the second phase of the project, strengthening the action already undertaken in Berat, and aim to promote the inclusion of children who suffer from a neuropsychiatric disorder (autism, mental retardation, childhood psychosis, encephalitis etc.) in society and in the school system and to promote their rights as defined in the United Nations Convention (2007) on the rights of persons with disabilities .
The project achieved:
the fulfilment of a special centre that holds about 20-30 disabled children
the supply of specialist rehabilitation services on an outpatient basis also for children who are not included in the daily activities of the Centre
the involvement of families and the whole community (shealth workers, schools, Government) through information and awareness- campaigns