Kelmend, in the far north of Albania, is one of the most remote and fascinating parts of Europe. The Terra Madre network extends even here, with two active food communities in the region: the Thethi producers, who make traditional products like honey, raki distilled from plums and other fruits and an unusual white flour ground using water mills from a local variety of corn; and the Lepushë producers, who make cheese and caj, infusions made from wild herbs and consumed throughout the year.
These small gastronomic treasures are struggling to resist environmental degradation and rural abandonment, especially by young people, which is leaving its mark on the local communities. A few people are holding out, seeking to keep alive local traditions and reinterpret them in a way that makes sense today. One of them is Ilir, a young man who is fighting against the tide. He has chosen to stay, together with his family, and to unite traditional food production with a small tourism business, promoting Lepushë caj and making it known to the many who don’t even know it exists.
Ilir now has a workshop for processing medicinal herbs, and was in the process of building a guesthouse so that he can host tourists interesting in discovering destinations completely off the beaten track. His dream was slowly coming together, but it has been brutally interrupted by a serious fall, from a height of 5 meters. Ilir risks losing the use of his legs unless he undergoes an operation only available at a private clinic.
The Terra Madre network, conscious of the fact that helping him means helping the whole community, is mobilizing itself to raise the funds necessary to support the operation, which will cost €6,000.
To help Ilir, his family and a community’s dream:
VIS Albania account holder: Ambrosi Pier Paolo
Address: Rruga Don Bosco, Tirana, Albania
Bank: INTESA SANPAOLO BANK ALBANIA SH A
27 RRUGA ISMAIL QEMALI, TIRANA, Albania
SWIFT code: USALALTR
Bank code: 20811008
Account number: 40306738001
Payment reference: Fundraising for Ilir