Welcome to Albaniabridge!

We are urgently trying to raise money to build a new bridge in the small village of Ure e Shtrentje, in northern Albania.

The village is divided in half by a deep gorge, that has been cut into the mountain by the winter and spring rains. The villagers used to cross it via a large stone bridge. But just a few years ago, the torrents coming down the mountains were so strong and powerful that they tore the old bridge away. Now one half of the village gets cut off from the rest of the world for several weeks, every year, denying the villagers access to school, medical aid or the supply of fresh food.

Read more about the project...

Benvenuti!

Stiamo raccogliendo fondi per costruire un ponte nel piccolo villaggio di Ure e Shtrenjte, nel nord dell'Albania. Il villaggio č separato in due parti da una profonda gola attraversata dal fiume. Fino a qualche anno fa esisteva un ponte di pietra che č stato distrutto da una piena del fiume.

Read the Italian version here!

Albanian translation of this site
There is an Albanian introduction to this site available at http://www.peshkupauje.com/?p=1409.

Site updated: 18 October 2009

The bridge has been built!!

It's been a long time since the last post. A lot has happened in our personl lives as well as with our jobs, but in the meantime something great has happened: the bridge has been built!

We weren't able to raise all the funds needed, but luckily Oxfam stepped in, matching the amount we raised to allow the project to start. Here are some recent images of the bridge, taken by Jon Stewart, an Oxfam copywriter who went out to Albania in September to visit various projects. If you click on the images below you'll be taken to his flickr.com pages where you can see more from that trip.

He's taken tonnes more pictures of the bridge which I hope he'll post online soon.

finished bridge

finished bridge

Site updated: 24 February 2008

Nearly at 30 per cent mark!

We've now raised £4,087! That's 29 per cent of our total target.

Here is an interesting reader comment:

I read your website and an addition to what the previous readers pointed out about the word 'shtrenjte', in some villages (I would say more northern Albania) the word is used to mean narrow. This would make the meaning of the village NarrowBridge which makes a little more sense to me...both other translations are right as well.
Good luck with your projects!
Alvidri Kurti

Bridge building article
Right click the image to downlaod a pdf file of the article.

Site updated: 21 November 2007

Albania celebrates independence!

On 28 November 2007 is Albanian Independence Day (Wikipedia link). This year Albania is celebrating 95 years (1912 - 2007) of nationhood - and here we want to give you all a challenge: we want 95 people each to donate a little for each of Albania's 95 years of independence!

So far we have raised £3,488, which is 24.9% of our total... Come us guys! Let's get past the 25% mark!

The bridge itself is nearly finished, but we need to repay the loans taken out to get the project going. Please help if you can. Every little helps!

Site updated: 21 June 2007

Things are progressing!

But we still need more money! At the moment we get about 200 people visiting our website each month. If each of you could give just 5 dollars/pounds we would reach our target so much more quickly. Please, please, help if you can!

Latest pix:

The Steel frame ready for mounting

The Steel frame ready for mounting

Site updated: 1 March 2007

In the news!

This article appeared today in the Society Guardian's website:

Raising funds to build a river crossing for Albanian villagers has proved much harder than volunteer Rachele de Felice expected, but the people she met along the way made it all worthwhile.

Read more...

Society guardian article

Quick: see the main web page: society.guardian.co.uk/ (click the purple 'Bridge building' link in the header banner).

If everyone could give just $5, it would make such a difference! Or tell your friends about this project! We really want to make it work, and any help is much appreciated!

Thank you all for your support!

Site updated: 12 February 2007

Progress Report

Villagers surveying the build progress
Villagers overlooking the construction site. Click on photo for more images.

Thanks to your generous support, so far we have raised £2,235 (about €3350/US$4350). This is just over 15% of our target: thank you! It's a great achievement, but unfortunately we still need your help to get to the £14,000/€20,000 to complete the job… so if you can, please donate to the project!

Everyone in the village is very excited about the new bridge, as they realise what a noticeable improvement it will bring to their lives. Isa Isufi told us, “I am planning to increase my goat flock, as I will have the chance to use the bridge to reach the mountain for their breeding” while 10-year old schoolgirl Saide rejoices she will be able to go to school: “I am very pleased that the bridge is going to be built. Now I won't be looking at the bus passing by, heading to the school and me not able to catch it because of this river in rainy days.”

Report versions: (right-click to download)
English pdf file, 32kb
Italian pdf file, 32kb
Albanian translated web page

The latest photos can be found here!

Site updated: 31 October 2006

In the papers!
Here is a chance to show off the latest press coverage we have received, in the Gazeta Shqip.

>

See page 27 of this paper as a pdf file, or download the pull issue of the Gazeta Shqip newspaper (6 Mb file).

Blueprint available
We've now got the blueprint for the bridge from our Albanian engineer! Don't expect anything dazzling - it is a very simple, practical design. Download a copy of the plan by right-clicking here. We've also got a very much more detailed break-down of the costs, which can be downloaded here. The bridge is now expected to be built in the spring of 2007, when the winter rains have finished. Progress will depend very much on how our funds are doing.

But we STILL NEED MORE MONEY! We have so far raised over 10% (£1400) of what is needed to finish the job. So if you can spare anything - £10, £25 or more, please help us with your kind donation. If you can help in any other way, through links, by telling friends etc, please do! EVERY LITTLE HELPS!

Some recent photos
A stubborn donkey crosses the existing bridge...

stubborn donkey crossing bridge

stubborn donkey crossing bridge

stubborn donkey crossing bridge

stubborn donkey crossing bridge

Did you know...
An Albanian who kindly donated to the project wrote to us and asked if we knew the meaning of the village's name. Which we didn't. Turns out that Ure apparently means bridge... and Shtrenjtė means expensive! Really! So Ure e Shtrentje means 'expensive bridge' - which is ironic, isn't it?

Rubens Mulla pointed out the following interesting quirk: “I believe it is a misinterpretation on translator's part - E Shtrenjtė in Albanian can be translated into both expensive and precious, with expensive being the first one to come in mind, since it relates to everyday complaints in Albania about prices etc (asuming your translator is Albanian).”