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Task Force Albania: An Odyssey [Hardcover]

Esther Ransen , John Van Weenen

RRP: 16.99
Price: 15.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Jun 1998
In 1991, after watching a television report about a girl dying of malnutrition, John van Weenen was inspired to do something to help the people of Albania. This book tells the story of his crusade, which has so far delivered over 7 million in aid.'

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From the Author

Time and time again I have been asked the question - why Albania? Some people have been quick to make the point that there are numerous worthwhile causes here in Great Britain that need supporting, a fact which I totally agree with. After all, they add - "shouldn't charity begin at home?" Ironically, when I first learned of Albania's plight, like most British people I had no idea where the country was. I assumed it could be found in the Middle East or perhaps even further afield. When I finally discovered just how close it was to the United Kingdom, it was indeed difficult to comprehend. How was it possible for a country in 1991, within the confines of Europe to be so incredibly poor? Was it conceivable that a third world state could exist so close to the affluence of Greece and on the very doorstep of Italy? At that time I knew nothing of its history and the previous 47 years, when the restrictive bonds of communism had virtually strangled the lifeblood out of the Albanian nation. I was totally ignorant of the hardship and the torture inflicted by the 'Sigurimi' - Albania's secret police. I knew nothing of the atrocities and the ordeal of political prisoners, destined to spend years in confinement for doing little more than verbally opposing the regime. That story and that of the small group of dedicated volunteers who shared my dream and helped turn it into reality at last can be told - exactly as it happened. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John van Weenen was born in 1941 and spent his early years in Enfield, Middlesex. In 1963, he emigrated to Australia and it was there he became involved in the martial art of Karate, which he has practised and taught for thirty-eight years. During his three-year stay in the city of Adelaide, John became a volunteer worker for the 'Good Neighbour Council', where he assisted in the rehabilitation of British migrants and the many problems associated with settling in a new environment. Throughout the 'eighties' he organised a number of successful fund raising swimming events, the proceeds of which benefited Bedfordshire's mentally handicapped children. In 1990, after discovering that his close friend Eddie Whitcher had been diagnosed as having terminal cancer, John decided to raise much needed funds, with the help of his students, for the Research Unit and the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. One year later, he handed the unit's director, Professor Norman Williams, a cheque for #158,000. A few months later, in September 1991, Bill Hamilton's first harrowing report from Albania appeared on British television screens. It depicted orphaned children, for years neglected by the state and locked behind bars in isolation. One particular child Jessica Nexhipi, who sadly died of malnutrition aged five months, weighing one pound less than when she was born, had such an effect on John that he departed for Albania immediately. Seven years later, as 1998 dawned, he had led thirty-one relief missions and safely delivered an estimated #7 million of humanitarian aid to northern and central Albania. Undeniably, many owe their lives to his determination and persistence - often against all odds. In 199, he was awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours List for 'Services to the Children of Albania'. His story is inspirational and worth telling, if only for one aspect alone. It reaffirms the importance of the individual and reminds us, as we enter the new Millennium, that one ordinary person can still make a difference. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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