Returning to New Opportunities (1st December 2020 to 1st November 2022)

This project seeks to help Albanians who returned from other countries to seek greener pastures but were unfortunate to succeed and find it frustrating to re-integrate back into their communities.

The migration rate in Albania is considered among the high rate in the world. It is estimated that 60% percent of the adult youth in Albania have the desire to travel outside the country for economic opportunities. Reasons such as unemployment, low wages and education account for this mass migration. However, in recent years, migrants from Albania find it difficult to integrate into these foreign countries. For example, in 2018, Germany refused 9,575 Albanians who applied to settle in the country and that meant these applicants have to return to Albania. The refusal to grant Albanians residence permit in foreign countries is due to the classification of Albania as “a safe county of origin.”

INSTAT estimates the number of Albanians that return each year to 25,000. Even though some make money to invest back home in Albania, many migrants returnees often come with nothing and have to find a way of re-integrating into the country to make a living. This process is difficult for these returnees since there is not a system that ensures their smooth reintegration into society. As a result, returnees become frustrated with no job and live in bad conditions. Those with children find it difficult to enroll them into schools and this forces these children into child labor activities. There are not enough social protection measures for these unfortunate returnees and where there are, they are not known to them. The ongoing ADRA Albania´s projects in Tirana and Kruje indicate that the majority of these returnees are unsuccessful asylum seekers who are from the Roma and Egyptian communities.

The interventions needed by the returnees consist of different facets. They need psychological care to get back on their feet due to the feeling of loss of hope after their return. Furthermore, they need to be introduced to the various governmental and private economic programs that are available for unemployed people in the country to make it easy for them to earn a living. Educational programs such as numeracy and literacy classes need to be organized as additional classes to help children who dropped out as a result of migration. In some cases of returnees, humanitarian services such as the provision of food, shelter and medical care are needed.

The main goal of the Return To Thrive II project is to facilitate economic and social integration of adults and children returnees and other vulnerable groups into society. This is to be done through enhanced collaboration of public institutions and improve access to social services, education and labor market orientation. Among some of the activities proposed are identification of beneficiaries and awareness campaigns with public institutions through door-to-door visitations in Elbasan, Kruja and Tirana. Also, capacity building training for stakeholders involved in migration management and provision of training (including orientations) to several selected returnees from the Roma and Egyptian communities. Packages such as food, medications and other needed items will be given to identified vulnerable groups of returnees especially in the Roman and Egyptian communities.

This project is expected to achieve the overall goal through various indicators. For example, at least 30 public local service providers will be engaged in identification and management of returnees and other vulnerable groups (potential migrants). These identified groups will benefit from the opportunities and resources available. Also, 350 returnees and other vulnerable groups (potential migrants) will be socially integrated through case management and improved access to social  services.