2022 Assembly


Insights into VICTIM SUPPORT


Work at grassroots level is so very demanding and requires a long-term investment, patience and great hope in possibilities. As RENATE members share their experiences with us, we are uplifted by the impacts of their work and rejoice in the renewal and hope for the future. 

This week’s insights come from Lalini Gunawardena, OLCGS, now working in Portugal.    

  1. Claudia is with us for about 5 years now , brought by the police in Korce, Albania and was immediately admitted into the mental hospital in Elbasan as she was mercilessly  abused by the traffickers outside Albania. We were told that she was in Bulgaria and Milan etc. Since then, the social services handed her over to us and we now accompany her. We provide her with medicine, food, clothes and with regular visits to her and her family. We did a complete repair to her house which was in a miserable state. We also equipped the house with basic furniture, including the kitchen. Due to her unstable health condition she has to be admitted to the mental hospital when necessary from time to time.  We sisters have to buy her medicine especially and provide her with everything essential for her living. At the moment our aim is to give the family a proper toilet and water. The sisters support her and accompany her with great love and respect.


  1. Ela was trafficked 7 years ago – waiting in Durres, Albania, to be sent to Italy. After she was rescued by her own father,  she was found to have been made pregnant by the trafficker. The family did not want to accept this pregnancy and advised her to abort the baby if she wanted to be accepted by the family. Ela did not want to kill the baby in her womb but gave birth to a beautiful boy. We sisters accompanied Ela and also her family in her struggle. From the beginning we sisters helped her and her little son, providing them with medicine, food and sometimes clothing too.  Ela had gone to school only up to grade 9. We took the responsibility to give her the love and care to bring her back to normal life. She took time to overcome the traumas she experienced before she was fully able to begin her studies. We encouraged her to complete her studies which would give her the education to empower her life. Ela wants to be nurse. We supported her to get a good part-time job in the mornings so that she could attend school in the afternoon. Really she is a very bright student too. We sisters give her classes in English as well as provide all the necessary books for her studies. 


  1. Her little boy too is going to school and is now in 2nd class and doing quite well in school. We sisters strongly felt that we should empower both the mother and the child, offering them a good education until the very end, so as to uplift their life socially and spiritually in every way. Ela is very keen to complete her university degree in Nursing and achieve a professional qualification to realize her dream.


  1. We also accompany a lot of Roma children loitering on the streets. We give them breakfast and short lessons on Shqip, drawing etc. We provide them with a good shower, changes of clothes and launder their dirty clothes to be for the next days. We encourage the parents to send their children to school so their futures will be bright with possibilities. This we do really as our mission of prevention work.

Lalini Gunawardena, OLCGS.