Samaritan’s Purse has been on the ground in Albania for over six weeks, serving the more than 400 Afghan families who have temporarily resettled along the country’s coastline. Our team of Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) specialists is distributing critical relief supplies, operating a medical clinic, and facilitating trauma care courses designed to promote healing and healthy conversations.
Many families fled Afghanistan with just the clothes on their backs, leaving behind their homes, careers, basic necessities, and any hope of ever returning to their country. As they seek to provide for their new families in Albania, one of the greatest needs is for diapers and other baby supplies that are either too expensive or unavailable in their host country.
Samaritan’s Purse distributed more than 28,770 diapers to 147 families along with shampoo and baby rash cream. The items are helping meet the physical needs of hurting Afghan families while also providing a sense of hope.
“The first thing that a father and a mother think about for their children are diapers and formula,” said Obaidullah, a father of four children ages 1 to 7. “It is very useful and I appreciate this.”
John Silkman, a U.S. military veteran who served in Afghanistan has a message to Afghan families as they look to the future: “There is hope. It may feel like there is no hope because you left everything behind, but there is a bright future ahead. We hope that we are planting a seed and that today is just a snapshot that there are better times ahead.”
People are noticing our work. Dostmuhammed, a community leader for one of the six organizations sponsoring Afghan families seeking refuge in Albania, spoke highly of Samaritan’s Purse. “They are bringing medicine, food, hygiene; nobody can do it but Samaritan’s Purse is doing it. They are no less than angels to us.”
If you are interested in joining our DART roster to be a part of these types of disaster responses, click here to apply.
Parniyan was in her second year of medical school in Afghanistan when the Taliban cut her dreams short. “From childhood, I always dreamed of being a doctor, I’ve never thought of anything else,” she said.
She was forced to flee with her family as the Taliban specifically targeted women and those with academic backgrounds. Now, as she and her family seek refuge in Albania, she has been putting her medical knowledge and love for her people to use, serving as a translator at the Samaritan’s Purse medical clinic.
“It was a pleasure volunteering in the Samaritan’s Purse clinic and helping my people in this rough situation,” Parniyan said. “It is a pride for me right now. It feels so good and I am so proud.”
Samaritan’s Purse medical staff opened our clinic, designed to handle the primary care issues of Afghan families, on November 5. Since then, we have treated more than 770 patients, all the while demonstrating God’s love and sharing hope.
“Some of [the patients] have physical problems, such as cough, fever, and these common things but most of them are having mental issues,” Parniyan said. “Most of them are experiencing so many mental issues because of the trauma they have been through.”
Dr. Paul Freel, one of our DART members, confirms the multifaceted issues these evacuees are facing. “I see patients who have been displaced. I see a lot of emotional overlay to their complaints—a lot of depression, insomnia.”
Though most of the Afghans focus on their physical ailments, he said, they also need to seek help for their emotional distress. That’s why Samaritan’s Purse has brought in a team of trained specialists to teach through a six-week trauma healing course, specially designed for these Afghan families.
“Hopefully with our trauma healing course we will be able to address the real pain that is there, you can see it in everybody,” Dr. Freel said.
Parniyan can already see a big impact from the classes. “Most of our people have never met any foreigner,” she said. “It is so emotional for them seeing someone from another country, another religion, praying for them in another language. That makes them feel like they are cared for.”
In addition to our work in Albania, we are also working to support Afghan refugees in other parts of the world as they seek to heal and resettle. Please continue to pray for our teams as they work in Jesus’ Name to offer relief to Afghan families in need.
Samaritan’s Purse is working through trusted, like-minded partners to provide relief and assistance to Afghan people affected by conflict and other crises.