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Familiestitle An Albanian Family in Crisis

Hasan's story: Surviving Spac Prison

In 1960, Hasan (name changed for his protection) was one of the first men to be imprisoned in the notorious Spac Prison in Albania, under the brutal communist regime. Deep in the bleak mountains, surrounded by steep gorges, the concrete windowless walls of the prison provided no escape and completely cut its inmates off from the outside world.

Hasam 4

He was imprisoned for 12 years, and during that time was beaten, tortured, put in isolation, forced to make untrue confessions, and to provide brutally tough labour in the mountain mines. His only crime - trying to leave Albania as a young man. At that time, the only job he could find was to tend geese, and his family was so poor, they had nothing to eat. He just wanted freedom, or to die trying to get to it.

When Hasan was finally released a new sorrow began, when he saw the effect his arrest had had on his family. He found out that his whole family had been persecuted while he was inside. "The children of my brothers could not have an education or anything because of me. No one would speak to me, and I survived on one egg a day."

"When the regime fell, I thought everything would change. Sadly, very little has for me, but at least now we are free to speak - this is so important to us. I remember there were people who went to prison for years just for saying there are no vegetables."

"It is difficult for me to relive the past. I struggle to totally trust anybody because of how I suffered. I hope for a better life, but what causes me the most stress is that I have nothing to give my children."

Today, Hasan - surrounded by his family living in the poorest part of the city - has sad, bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol is on his breath. He speaks passionately, reveals scars on his wrists from torture and shows all the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"I have suffered all my life and I have always been poor," he says.

Hasam 2

Mission Without Borders' Albanian team has started supporting Hasan and his family in our Families in Crisis project. They respond to the family's material needs through the provision of food and hygiene supplies, plus shoes and clothes. Our local coordinators support the family emotionally and pray for them while also looking for opportunities to help the children in their education.

Follow this link to support our program for FAMILIES-IN-CRISIS