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A lady tending to her buffalo


Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Although vast economical improvements have been made whilst the country undergoes a political transition, Albania still faces high rates of unemployment and urban poverty with few employment opportunities for a large portion of the population. We, therefore, provide orphan sponsorship, vocational training, and food support to assist local families and responding to local disasters.

Albania has experienced stable economic growth in recent years yet poverty still continues to plague large segments of the population. Around half a million people across Albania live below the national poverty line on just €1 a day.

For thousands of families, particularly those in rural areas and mountainous regions, poverty is a daily reality. With poor access to clean water, sanitation, health, and education, these families are struggling to build brighter, more stable futures. When disasters such as flooding hits communities are therefore incredibly vulnerable and lacking in critical supplies. In March 2018 for example, flooding in the region of Shkoder impacted around 8,000 locals with 250 families forced to flee their homes and families subsequently losing their livestock.

Islamic Relief staff member sat with Albanian family, with staple food items on the table
Image: A family receive their Ramadan food parcel from Islamic Relief.

The situation in Albania

Many communities in Albania are struggling amid poor access to clean water, sanitation, health, and education.


of the economy is dependent on agriculture (World Bank, 2016)

1 in 5

children are stunted (UNICEF, 2011)


of the population is unemployed (ILO, 2017)


of the population live in rural areas (UN Statistics Division, 2017)

Islamic Relief in Albania

Islamic Relief began its work in Albania in 1994 before the Albanian civil unrest of 1997, in which we distributed food packs and essential items. 

Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. It faces high rates of unemployment and urban poverty. Islamic Relief offers a lifeline, and helps people to build brighter futures, through orphan sponsorship, vocational training, food parcels, and income generation programmes. 

The first programme we offered in Albania was orphan sponsorship, which began in 1994. Since then, Islamic Relief has been the first to respond to several crises including the Kosovo refugee crisis of 1999, several floods, and the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis of 2015 – which triggered Islamic Relief Albania to expand its projects to the north. 

In more recent years, Albania and North Macedonia saw the health system struggle due to Covid-19. Islamic Relief responded by rebuilding hospitals and health centres and providing them with vital medical equipment.

Today, Islamic Relief Albania has reached over 1 million vulnerable people through projects covering almost 80% of the country.

Islamic Relief in action

The complex crisis in Syria forced people from their homes, seeking safety in other countries. In 2015 this resulted in the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis, with more than one million arriving in Europe. Desperate to reach safety, many people were dying during perilous journeys. Refugees arriving in Macedonia received support from Islamic Relief Albania, which gave them food packs and essential items.

Islamic Relief staff member tying bag containing food items
Image: Islamic Relief staff preparing Ramadan food parcels.

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