These are the countries in which we work. For more than 40 years, we have known our calling to help vulnerable children and families in these very countries.
Kom over en help works in six focus countries: Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, the Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
In 2020 the whole world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Also our line of work has been greatly affected. Unemployment was already high, but it increased even more. The day care centres in various countries were closed for certain periods of time. Many children ended up in unsafe situations, as their parents could not stay home, because they had to go out and earn a living. In many countries medical care leaves much to be desired.
In Albania access to medical care remains problematic, especially for children with a disability. This is one of the areas that Kom over en help and partners have also put their energy in over 2020. Furthermore, we continued aid projects geared towards integral area development in the north of Albania. We do this in cooperation with Dorcas. Over the past few years, Albania has continued to develop, but the development is slow and difficult. Since 24 June 2014 Albania has been a candidate member for the European Union (EU), after it had applied for this status as early as 2009. In March 2019, the European Council confirmed the decision that access negotiations with Albania could be opened.
The war about the region of Nagorno-Karabach that flared up again in 2020 has affected the population of Armenia considerably. The political situation will be instable for some time to come and this is reflected in the state of the economy. Because of an enormous shortage of employment, many people leave the country. Besides emergency aid mainly for the elderly, refugees, and families, we offered structural support to children and adults by providing education, income-generating activities and material aid. In 2020 we elaborated the plans in further detail.
The economic outlook for Georgia remains vulnerable because of an increasing deficit on the current accounts, a high national debt, and a variable exchange rate. Moreover, the continuing tensions with Russia have scared off foreign investors. Unemployment in Georgia is high, higher than the official statistics indicate. This is why many Georgians leave their country. As a consequence many families are broken families. More than half of the population live under the poverty line. Our partner organisations focus on many activities that give hope to the people, also for their future!
The situation in Moldova continues to worsen. It remains the poorest country in Europe. Often parents or young adults leave to find a job in Russia or in the West. The children stay behind and are raised by their grandparents or in child care homes. However, increasingly more homes are being closed down. This is partly due to European laws and regulations (de-institutionalisation) and partly to the idea that children are better off with foster care or with an adoptive family. The problem is that the country and the system are not ready yet for this change. As a consequence many children end up in the streets. Increasingly more families move away, and villages become almost uninhabitable. This is why we continued to provide help to the vulnerable children and elderly who remain behind.
To our disappointment, the situation in the Ukraine has not yet improved. This is mainly because of the almost unchanged economic situation, but also because of the continually unstable political situation and the uncertainty caused by the armed conflicts in the eastern part of the country. Eastern Ukraine is strongly Russian oriented and people mostly speak Russian over there. The rest of the Ukraine is oriented towards the West. There is a lack of unity in the country which is fed by this political diversity, by dissatisfaction about corruption, by instability, and by the language problem. By now the conflict has developed into an ongoing civil war. Among the population there is a wide range from extreme wealth to severe poverty.
Kom over en help also works in Central Asia (Uzbekistan). Uzbekistan is a closed country and one of the most autocratic countries in the region. Points of concern are Muslim terrorism, restrictions on religious freedom, human rights and democracy.