The Albanian economy has improved in recent years, but there are still people who continue to live in extreme poverty (less than one U.S. dollar per day), and there are significant disparities between urban and rural areas.
The Ministry of Education focuses on city schools, leaving the village schools without adequate facilities, qualified teachers, books and equipment. Satellite TV and more recently cell phone service has reached the villages, giving them more access to the world. The roads have been improved giving them daily access by bus to the cities in the lowlands, although cost prohibits most from traveling often. Unemployment is widespread. Students are eager to learn. They dream of a better life with a better education. Most would like to continue on to high school, and perhaps university.
The projects are located in several northern Albanian villages, which are the most traditional in the country. Arranged marriages are still very common. Patriarchy is very strong, and it still is not unusual to find two or three generations sharing the same home. You will teach children English as they are all eager to learn conversational English to use for future jobs or continuing education. No professional experience necessary.
You will be able to run your own program as long as you have the curriculum and material ready for it. It could be drawing, arts/crafts etc., which could be very beneficial to the children as they can make art to sell and make money on their creations. This could include paintings, frames, jewelry, decorative ornaments, or crafts specific to their culture, family, or country. This is also an opportunity to help students gain skills. Check out the website of http://www.albanianalps.org, to volunteer please contact Steve Cook or Terri Cook.