The Special Needs Program
Volunteers are urgently needed to contribute their time and energy at a day-care centre for children and young adults with disabilities. This specialist centre is located in the village of Prush, in the suburbs of Tirana City and provides psycho-socio-educative services for 50 children and young adults ranging from 6 – 25 years of age. With three floors which include rooms for rest and play, a gym and computer area, as well as physiotherapy, speech therapy, medical and dentistry services, purpose built ramps and equipment that meets international standards, the centre is well resourced. The garden, with its many flowerbeds and trees is a treasured part of the centre as it provides a beautiful outlook and gives the children the chance to enjoy the fresh air as well as the quiet and calm surroundings. The centre also raises rabbits which make great companions for the children and help with therapy sessions. For volunteers who truly want to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children, this wonderful program serves to protect and care for those who need it most.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide essential companionship to vulnerable children and young people in Albania
- Improve the future prospects of disabled children and young people in Albania
- Give vulnerable children and young people quality care, compassion and a sense of hope
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both locals and international volunteers alike.
How You Can Help
This program provides an essential need to the lives of children and young people living with disabilities – the need for companionship and hope. Volunteers on this program spend their time interacting with the children, playing games and activities with them and stimulating their minds. This is an essential element to their care and provides stimulation, interaction and fun for those in the day care environment. Volunteers are needed to work one-on-one with the children, and to arrange small group activities. Activities could include working on the art therapy program which encourages the children to use their imagination and teaches them to make arts and crafts, or work with the staff on awareness campaigns in order to improve the rights of children and youth living with disabilities. The specialists at the centre will provide training and support, and will be available to assist where necessary. The job of a volunteer is not to substitute the specialists, but to provide much needed companionship for the children and youth.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways on this program and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Organize games and activities for the children - sports, music, songs, dance, games etc
- Create activities and entertain the children
- Assist the fundraising department and help with updates to their website
- Work with the staff on awareness campaigns
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to assist in the support and development of some of Albania's most marginalized children and young adults. While this highly rewarding project does not require participants to have a background in the field of special needs care, as there are many ways you can assist, volunteers with suitable education, qualifications or experience are highly sought after. Regardless, a volunteer’s individual role can often be tailored to suit their particular skills and interests. Ideally, volunteers on this project will have at least a basic an understanding of Albanian in order to communicate effectively with the children and local staff members. All applicants must of course display a genuine willingness to help, show drive, initiative and compassion, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Tirana is a fast-developing city, shaking off its communist past and acquiring a western feel. It is small and manageable for traversing on foot. There are several new shopping malls, cinemas, concert halls and theatres with programs of a high standard and many bars, some providing live music. Tirana is a growing tourist destination.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Volunteers are met on arrival into Tirana and taken to the Volunteer House to meet with the hosts and settle in to the new environment. An orientation session will take place, normally on the Monday, which covers the local area, public transport, amenities, customs, rules and recommendations and, of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This provides a great opportunity to get to know your hosts and ask any last questions you may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza, Tirana, Albania (Code: TIA)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this program are accommodated in a comfortable Volunteer House in central Tirana. Each room accommodates up to 4 with shared bathroom and communal facilities. The house is equipped with a tidy kitchen and dining area where volunteers can prepare meals and snacks in a homely environment.
All standard amenities are available in the Volunteer House, including hot showers, Western style bathrooms, bed linen, a functional kitchen and Wi-Fi. An Albanian expression sums up the hospitality you can expect during your stay in Tirana - “Buke, kripe dhe zemer” (Bread, Salt and a warm heart).
Accommodation in Tirana is self-catered and food is not included in the program fees. Volunteers can opt to make use of the kitchen facilities to prepare meals or dine out at one of the many restaurants, bars and cafes within easy reach of the Volunteer House. Lunch options are varied and affordable at cafes and markets situated close to the program site.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.