At the leading pediatric hospital in Tirana, Sir Norman was part of the inaugural ceremonies marking the unveiling of the new, urgently-needed oxymeter donated by St. Hilda's School in Harpenden, England, and coordinated by ADRA Trans Europe.
Sir Norman also visited the office of ADRA Albania as a demonstration of his continuing interest in ADRA's humanitarian work. "We told him about the way we helped the Kosovar refugees and highlighted some of our current health and food projects," reports ADRA's joint acting country director, Elidon Bardhi.
In 1995, Sir Norman opened ADRA's new 7,000 square feet warehouse in the presence of many government and civic leaders. This building was subsequently destroyed in 1997 during the riots relating to the collapse of pyramid investment schemes. However, the facility was rebuilt with grants from the British Government through DFID and other sources. It later served a major role in ADRA's feeding programs in six centers following the influx of thousands fleeing from the Kosovo crisis.
Sir Norman's itinerary during this trip included an appearance at half-time of the Albania v. England football match that was viewed in 43 countries. The following day nearly every British newspaper from "The Times" to "The Star" carried front-page pictures of Sir Norman. Publicity wise, he superseded England's football stars.
During 45 years of dictatorship in Albania, almost all "western" film presentations were banned as "politically incorrect." However, Albanian censors reviewed the work of comedian Sir Norman Wisdom and found it non-offensive. Hence, his films were shown in cinemas and on television, and he became the country's best known overseas personality, adored by fans from Skodrer to Sarande.
ADRA was the first western agency to enter Albania in 1991 when the country was democratized. Ten years later the agency is still very active not only in what is still a very poor country and in neighboring territories which have had an alarming incidence of political unrest and human suffering in recent years.
Contact: Norma J Sahlin, Media
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