The German Information Centre on Migration, Vocational Training and Careers (DIMAK) has built up a lot of trust during its almost four years of existence in Albania. This has certainly helped during the crisis, say advisors Halisa Duka and Dorisa Lala.
Ms Duka, Ms Lala, how would DIMAK Albania operate in normal circumstances?
Dorisa Lala (DL): DIMAK participates in the "Returning to New Opportunities" programme, which assists returnees – mainly from Germany – in their professional and social reintegration. Though locals can also benefit from our advisory services. We normally hold face-to-face conversations to provide advice on individual opportunities and to establish trust.
How has your work changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Halisa Duka (HD): DIMAK is temporarily closed. So we're relying on counselling sessions and services that we can offer away from the centre. We have transitioned to online activities and digital training courses. Our counselling sessions are now held by phone, Skype or e-mail. But we still keep in regular contact with the people we advise. We want to ensure they're doing well during this difficult time. Psychological support is also important. Many people have lost their jobs and need some guidance. We also focus on gender issues. DIMAK helps women in particular to get through the difficult times caused by the pandemic – professionally, socially and mentally.