Letter: Children in peril as the line to Albania goes dead

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The Independent Online
Desperate to get away: two Albanian men trying to climb on board a boat leaving for Italy yesterday at the Albanian port of Durres, near Tirana Photograph: Santiago Lyon/AP

Sir: It is frightening to witness the self-destruction in Albania. ChildHope has supported a small and dedicated group of Albanians who are running a scheme working with street children which we set up in 1992, back in the early days of the country's emergence from the Communist regime. Over the last year, we certainly felt in our bones that something nasty was brewing in the country, but the ferocity of the last three weeks has taken us by surprise.

This afternoon [Friday] we discovered that our daily fax or telephone contact has been broken. This has left us in London with a real sense of doom, knowing that the project, the staff and the children in their care are isolated and left to an uncertain fate.

We can suggest no quick-fix solutions, but clearly the West's expectations of Albania were too great to be fulfilled in such a short time. It will be shameful if we all turn our back simply because the Albanians discovered something called fraud in their headlong rush into the market economy.

It will be a challenge to help them pick up the pieces, and this time take our time about getting it right.

NICHOLAS FENTON

Director

ChildHope UK

London EC1

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