On March 23, U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu and Chief of U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Johnston joined local authorities to inaugurate the newly renovated Development Center for Persons with Disabilities in Shkoder. This project was made possible by the Humanitarian Assistance (HA) program of the United States Department of Defense.
The HA program provided approximately USD $407,000 for the renovation of the center. The project included construction of a new elevator, upgrading plumbing and electrical systems, installing a new central heating system, purchasing the industrial washing machines and dryers, and repairing the exterior of the building.
The improved, safe and secure educational facilities will make it possible for 93 local persons with disabilities to develop the skills they need to have better opportunities in Albania. This project provides them with efficient rehabilitation services to enhance the quality of their lives and promote their integration into the wider society.
Ambassador Lu said in his remarks: “One of the greatest American presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, commanded U.S. forces in World War II from his wheelchair. One of our greatest musicians, Ray Charles, was blind from childhood. The greatest scientist of all time, Albert Einstein, suffered from a learning disability. People with disability can do anything. We are proud to be working in a country that pays so much attention to the rights and opportunities of persons with disabilities.”