Elvana (back left) with some of her siblings: Blythswood’s partners in Albania make sure that your gifts reach some of the poorest people in schools, hospitals, refugee facilities and even in prison

The young people of Dream Academy on a trip to the seaside: toiletries and items of stationery are welcome shoebox gifts

Shoebox gifts help young people at school in Albania

Eight months of training in a sewing skills programme supported by Blythswood Care have equipped a young woman in Zimbabwe to earn a wage and support her younger sibling through school.

“Elvana’s mother works hard to meet the needs of the family,” says Gjergji Como who delivered the boxes in January. “Elvana learns a lot at school and wants to help her mother when she grows up. She wants to get a profession that will help her family.”

As well as giving shoeboxes to low-income families, Blythswood’s partners in Albania took them in to Tirana’s paediatric hospital, to the oncology clinic and to the prison hospital, places where it is not permitted to take pictures. They also gave some to asylum-seekers and refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Dream Academy helps 80 teenagers, most of whom have a parent in prison. “Some live with their grandparents because of crime in the family, or domestic violence,” says Fatmir Sacaj. “They always admire the gift boxes they receive, and can’t wait for this moment. They appreciate everything but especially school supplies and daily necessities such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo.”