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The Overflowing Joy of VT’s Students

The Overflowing Joy of VT’s Students

JANUARY 24, 2022   |   4.5 MINUTE READ

VT Albania provides education, therapy, and meaningful connections and experiences for people with disabilities in Albania. You may have read about VT in one of our earlier blogs, “Becoming an Ambassador.” In this blog, though, missionary and director of VT Tiffany Janofski shares more about the heart behind this ministry.

Five smiling people with mountains and a village behind them

What is VT Albania?

In Albania, limited resources are available for the treatment and care of those with any kind of disability—physical or mental. A social stigma is attached to those with disabilities. Many believe that disability is a result of a curse which brings shame on the family. As a result, those with disabilities are often hidden away at home without opportunities for treatment, education, work, or social development. And when they are taken out into the community, they find that disability access to buildings and suitable toilets are the exception rather than the rule. 

Photo of a person in a wheelchair, unable to enter a store because of steps blocking the way and a photo of a person in a wheelchair on the roof of the VT facility looking out over the village.

Most buildings have 5–7 steps to enter the first door, and sidewalks are not accessible with ramps. The VT facility has an elevator, which allows students a view from the rooftop!

VT, which stands for “Valued Treasure,” seeks to serve people with disabilities by opening new doors of opportunity and choice, connecting students with others in meaningful relationships, and cultivating the God-given potential of each individual. Currently, VT serves individuals with muscular dystrophy, Cerebral palsy, autism, and other conditions that make mobility and inclusion into society a challenge.

A photo of a group of smiling VT students and adult workers gathered around a long table with a cake, coffee, and soft drinks and a photo of a student with her book.

Education isn’t just academic at VT. We strive to offer wholistic education through life skills, academics, and social skills.

What does support from VT look like?

  • A day center and sponsorship for special outings and activities for its students to socialize outside of their homes, with individuals other than their immediate family members.
  • Transportation to the center with a handicap-accessible school bus.
  • Teachers and a physiotherapist at the center as well as a network of volunteers who invest in the lives of these students from their academic education to their personal and spiritual development for a wholistic approach.
  • Volunteers who come and share in community, thus bringing society into proximity with our students that results in stigma-breaking friendships.
  • Preparation for students and support in searching for jobs and navigating the application process.
  • Educational training and support throughout students’ academic careers, ensuring they are able to be in-person at school for exams and projects.
  • Special educational courses and accessibility, including ramps and handicap bathrooms.
  • Bible studies curated specifically for its students at their level, with time devoted to prayer and counseling, sharing God's love and truth, and modeling the truth that their lives are valuable and have purpose. 

A photo of one student adding an ingredient to a pan while another watches and a photo of students and their instructor around a table with the ingredients and muffin tins ready for the batter to be mixed.

VT students learn how to cook.

This year we've added a cooking lesson extra-curricular by our very own cook, Zhani. It has been fun to try our hand at pancakes, muffins, and byrek (an Albanian version of pie).

A physiotherapist holding out a ball to a student who is reaching towards it.

VT student practices exercise with physiotherapist, Sara.

VT employs a physiotherapist who does an excellent job working with our students and giving them practical and creative exercises that they can practice at home.

Meet VT’s Students

A photo of a student standing at a whiteboard with letters of the alphabet on it.

VT student, Freddy, learns the alphabet.

Freddy* is VT's first student with autism, and it has been a joy to see this sweet eighteen-year-old boy open up day by day. Freddy has never attended school before or been a part of any other community beyond his home. It's our privilege to come alongside him and receive the blessing of his presence!

Three photos showing Anna'a joyous smile, with friends in a worship service, and getting her fingernails done.

VT student, Anna, is a joy to our community.

Anna* has attended VT for the past six years. She is a big sister to the other students, lovingly asking them questions and drawing them out of their shells into relationship. Anna is the only believer in her family, and she is praying fervently for her family to come to know the hope of Christ. She is a joy in our community, and we love to see how Jesus is working in her heart.

A photo of Evan smiling at the camera and a photo of Evan in class watching as a teacher points to something in another student's book.

Evan, a recent graduate from VT.

Evan,* one of VT’s graduated students, recently came for a visit and shared with me how much of a difference the foundation has made in his life and how much he misses his time at VT. Since Evan has graduated, he now has the opportunity to find work with his education and provide for his mother and himself. 

VT’s Extracurricular Activities & Partnerships

VT seeks to provide special activities and opportunities for its students. Some of our favorite activities include going to a swimming pool, the beach, the park, a museum, or out for coffee, using the soccer field for recreational activities, and taking a music or history class.

Three photos of VT students interacting with visiting team members by sharing their testimonies, accompanying them on fun excursions, and playing games on the soccer field.

Sharing testimonies, an excursion to the Adriatic Sea, and team relays with our students and visiting teams.

We had the pleasure this summer and fall of hosting visiting groups who came and shared in our joy together. Whether we were swimming in the Adriatic Sea, playing relay games on the new soccer field, or making crafts, we experienced community and laughter with one another!

A long table with a row of girls sitting on each side. The girls on one side of the table are doing the fingernails of the girls sitting on the other side of the table.

VT students are pampered.

Starting this year, VT is partnering with a neighboring foundation that is a group home for high-school-aged orphans. VT and Hope for the World Foundation (HftW) are working together, taking turns serving one another. For example, one month, HftW served VT students by hosting us and treating us to manicures and hairstyles. The following month, it was VT's turn to serve our new friends at HftW!

Tiffany and her team get the opportunity share Christ’s love through VT Albania. The joy of the community VT has created is infectious, as you can see in these photos. We can’t wait to see how God continues to use this program and those involved to shine His light in Albania.


PRAY: Lift up the members of VT and pray that this program will show them that they truly are Christ’s valued treasures and empower them to be a light for Him in the world. Pray for Tiffany and those she serves alongside at VT, asking God to show them how to best meet needs in their community, as well as to continue providing for this ministry.

GIVE: If you want to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Albania, consider partnering financially with VT. You can help provide quality resources to those who might not have access otherwise and see how God can use your generosity in his story of redemption.

GO: Do you have a heart for people with disabilities? We are looking for volunteers in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and accounting. Come see how God is at work in Albania, and meet the delightful members of VT for yourself. Fill out our mobilization inquiry form, and we’ll be in touch to talk about your opportunities soon!

Missionary Bio: Tiffany Janofski has served in Albania since 2018 and as the director of VT since 2020. She is passionate about discipleship, building relationships, and walking with individuals to find their value and identity as a child of God.

*name changed for privacy

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