Children for sale, Stories from Albania
(Enfance à vendre, histoires d'Albanie)
directed by Clara Ott| 2004

  (c) Flight movie 2004
  For the last ten years, thousands of Albanian children as young as four years’ old have been hired, sold, bought and transported into Greece for economic exploitation. In Elbasan, in the heart of Albania, Namik Shehaj, the co-ordinator and co-founder of the NGO, “NPF” (Ndhimë Per Fëmjiët : Help the Children Foundation), spends his days, and often his nights, fighting this practically institutionalised trafficking. He tries to prevent the neglect and disappearance of children who are “at risk,” and to rehabilitate abused children into school and within their families.
Every day, he gets into his little red van and drives around the town centre and its poorest districts, which are mostly populated by gypsies and ‘evgjits’ (originally from Egypt, but now known as ‘the blacks’). He visits families, listens to what the children tell him, spots the ones working in the streets, encourages young beggars to go back to school, and convinces the parents not to send their children back to Greece.
He regularly passes by the special classes offered by the Foundation, where various schoolteachers teach children of all ages to read and write. Indefatigable, Namik supervises food distribution, livens up parents’ evenings, and keeps moral high in his team co-ordination meetings. A great amateur footballer, he referees the sports events that he sets up each weekend for all the children of the NPF.
Respected and loved by all, Namik is a personality in his hometown of Elbasan. His patience and determination have won him the trust of parents and children alike. Namik does not judge or condemn. He remains pragmatic. He introduces clear contracts with the families, who receive material and financial help on the condition that their children attend school each morning.
The children know that they can rely on him at all times. For Ella and Elton, who at the age of 16 have made nearly one hundred trips into Greece; for Najada, Marenglen and Sputim, gypsies and badly treated, Namik is a father and a mentor. He knows how to be firm, how to stop quarrels, how to make them laugh and how to hold them in his arms. Above all, Namik lets them speak about what they have experienced and to place themselves in a future where they will have control over their own lives.
Through the portrait of this rare character emerges the entire landscape of an Albania that is trying to be reborn from its own ashes …

Distribution : Flight Movie
  Duration 52 minutes
Format Dvcam & Beta Digital
Direction Clara Ott
Image Jérôme Colin
EditingGuillaume Germaine
Music Goran Bregovic
(c) 2004 flight movie - tous droits réservés