How Different Weekend started?
Different Weekend started in 27 October 2015, between the extreme poverty. It was born as a wish to help poor people. It was exactly the wish of a young man only 21 years old, who decided to support the weakest group of people in our society, beyond his opportunities to live in the bright side of our actuality dimension. It was born as a wish of a person that generated an idea; it was born as a spirit that conquered hundreds of young voluntaries. Over all “Different Weekend” was born as an alchemy where the goodness, compassion, hard work and willpower are united, where the transparency means dignity and the people are appreciated by their human values that they possess.
The poverty is the toughest reality that our society is facing today. It's a murderous reality, a vampire reality. It doesn’t let you live like other people, it is the reality that doesn’t let you think as a free person, doesn’t let you love and trust in a beautiful future. It is a miserable reality where children are growing up in unequal ways, where the souls are differently appreciated; where Hamlet's greatest dilemma is present everywhere. “To be or not to be.”
We can define the poverty only as a capital that weakens the human values, the capital that counts only the luxury things. This hard situation is found between the pain, and it is hidden in the tears behind the smiles of poor children... Is it easy to change this reality? Not at all. It has never been easy, it will not be easy. Challenging the social reality where Albanians have been placed today is really difficult. Not by the lack of will. The history has shown us that usually those who tried to challenge the poverty have set the right goal in a wrong way, or have chosen a path that does not lead to the right purpose.
We think that time is very important and we must appreciate it. Dedicating your time is one of the most important ways of giving. One of the Different Weekend achievements is the race between public schools in town to make charity. We realized that in a poor country as Albania, transparency is the key to open people’s hearts. Albanians are charitable people, our experience has shown us. At the first moment they realize that their donations are going in the right, they are ready to give their soul too. We think that donation is a spiritual act. It’s a pure moral act, a small ritual of happiness that makes us feel better people. In this world sometimes what needs to be done and what is the right thing to do are very different. The common between them is the truth. Part of “Different Weekend” were also people that after getting acquainted with the difficult and painful situations, realized they should appreciate what they already have.
Our greatest aspirations for the future start with change. We are constantly trying to integrate ourselves, looking to the west. But we think that our country will not change if we do not solve the poverty problems. Our country will not change if children in need will not eat dinner before sleep; if will be there children who can’t study because they can’t buy the school bag or books. It will not change, if we still will have families that live in inhabitant conditions, it will not change as long as we have families that sleep under the open sky ... but it will not even change if we sit down and wait this change to come by itself. We must start the change by ourselves. Firstly the change beats in our hearts, then in our ideas. If you ever thought that you must leave Albania, we think it's time to reject this myth. It's time to work by helping each other.
We have seen many families in need crying when we knocked on their door to say that they are not alone. We said them that they are not alone in the fight with the poverty, the enemy who persecuted this nation in centuries. Then we realized that in these families in need, you can go and give a smile if you want, it will be enough. We are trying to put the connection between morality and materiality. When we go to these families in need, spreading food, we give them moral support. We make a spiritual promise. They will no longer be alone!
We have seen philanthropists crying when they firstly saw barefoot children. We have seen philanthropists crying when they saw that just a few feet away from their home, there are families that cannot even feed. During the activities there are a lot of sad moments. Then you reflect that your problems you see giant are drops of water in the big ocean of the pain. "Different Weekend" is the symbol of charity all around the world where live Albanians.
Taking the decision of being the symbol of charity was not easy. Furthermore it was a sensible decision. Alone, the poor people cannot challenge their luck; they cannot pass their level, because they are determined by their circumstances. They aren’t determined by their skills, but by their opportunities. But we can help them without compromises, without selling dignity. During the activities we passed beautiful moments. The society supported us in our mission, by seeing reflected in the poor people living, a moral obligation to contribute. Because if you think about it, the only details that separate us from our predecessor are the conscience and sensitization. We are very happy that the Albanian society is responding our calls to donate.
We are living two worlds. Being every second on the boundary that separates these worlds is very difficult. We spend time in families in need, we live with them. We support them in difficult moments; we embrace their problems, and try to solve them. But the moments of the activities remain on our memory. We do not belong everything we have. We should share them with other people, because only if we share, we moralize the values of them. One of the principles of “Different Weekend” is non-discrimination.
We believe that fighting the extreme poverty in Albania is not difficult. Firstly you must love Albania. But all these principles have a great ideal on top. "A solidarity society that is economically balanced that provides the necessary conditions for equal development."
“There is no difference of colors, ethnicity, religion or race. Different Weekend has given its contribution in 14.100 families with different color of the skin, with different beliefs, and perhaps different ethnicities, but united by a great and painful truth, poverty and hunger.”
A short documentary of the 1st anniversary of the Different Weekend
The President of Albanian Republic honors the 'Different Weekend' with the title 'For special civil merits' as a sign of appreciation for their great contribution. In just a short period filled with tireless work 'Different Weekend' helped and gave hope to many families in need by building bridges between them and different charitable people and organizations.
This certificate is given to Mr.Arbër Hajdari from the "Institute of children who cannot see",for the contribution of "Different Weekend" in the academic process.
artners in Albania awarded a certificate of appreciation to "Different Weekend" for their help to families and people in need and their volunteering activities that encourage solidarity and humanism in Albania.
During the opening of "different weekend's" offices in New York,the Assembly of New York considered this organization as an example of civil initiative and of volunteering programs.Based on them it is given a huge help to the people living in misery and poverty.
This medal is awarded by the mayor Mr.Erion Veliaj to Mr.Arbër Hajdari for his contribution to the society ,for becoming a role model for the Albanian youth and for creating the most social charity initiative.
This award was given to Arbër Hajdari from the "Chamber of Commerce" for the special contribution to the people in need through Different Weekend.
Top Channel organized a poll on its official website for the thirteenth consecutive year. The winning as the person of the year 2017 is “Different Weekend”, which with her charitable activity helps the families in need all around Albania.
For the contribution and tireless efforts of “Different Weekend” foundation in serving the Albanian families, the Church of Jesus Christ LDS (Mormons) presents to the “Different Weekend” the 2017 price.