Well, now they are grown up by one year! There were 15 leaders at the beginning of their Leadership Program with Mary Ward Loreto Youth Project, but 3 of them have successfully been accepted at universities around Albania and we are very proud of them! The other 12 leaders have committed themselves to continue the programme for the second year. During this time they will be part of the Leadership empowerment process. Already you can easily feel their confidence growing. They have a big desire to take initiatives and experience all the magic of becoming a Leader. What a great year we have ahead!
Becoming a youth trainer.
At the beginning of October I was given a new assignment, that of the MWL youth trainer. Working with young people is always energizing because they have the potential to always accept challenges and adapt. During the “Trafficking in Human Beings” trainings I’m impressed by the dynamics of those interacting with each other, their analytical skills and the information they have. Traveling from north to south of Albania allows you to meet youngsters from different communities. They are as similar and unique to each other. Someone is introvert and shy to express thoughts, someone may have clear ideas, clear thoughts and leadership skills. All with the potential to develop and all with the potential to face the internal struggle between good and bad. Trainings with young people are a way to invite them to reflect on their daily choices and decisions which reflect on their future. This is a struggle to identify what is good and what is bad.
MWL Youth Project: 40 youngsters from Lushnja and Puka, receive certificates confirming their participation in Human Development and Economic Empowerment Trainings.
On 29th of September at Don Bosko Centre in Tirana, 40 youngsters from Puka and Lushnja celebrated their first success on the journey to becoming leaders. They were provided with certificates which testify their commitment to the project activities including:
Six Human Development trainings: Job search, Human Anti-trafficking, Communication Skills, Mental and Emotional Health, Different and Equal and Learning Entrepreneurship;
Vocational Training Course;
Social and Recreational Group Activity;
On this day MWL Foundation organized an event to say a huge thank you to them for the trust that they have shown in themselves and through their commitment to the MWL Youth Program. This event was characterized by joy and enthusiasm which was the most important achievement for these youngsters when 12 months before they had no idea what to do with their lives. Now they are writing their stories of hope, joy and freedom. On this happy moment day MWL President, Imelda Poole, MWL Youth Project manager Gazmir Memaj, Head of Mobile Unit of Regional Directorate of Public Vocational Training, Arben Sinoimeri and 2 key workers in Lushnje and Puka, Shahin Petritaj and Ilirjan Lleshi were present and delivered the certificates. These youngsters are now ready to fly, 50% are employed already and they are changing their communities.
Human Development Trainings “Self-Perception and Social Media” MWL Youth Project.
During the month of November, the youth project launched a human development training with young people. The theme was: ‘’Self-perception and the impact of social media’’. The first trainings were held in Burrel, Librazhd and Kucove. All the young participants were happy to receive this training and the information provided. They live in a time when technology and especially social networks take up most of their day and it is a key factor determining the development of personality and character for them. In this training, young people were offered an alternative, seeing social media from a wider point of view, emphasizing its impact on how they see themselves in society and how they perceive themselves through social networks. It involved self-awareness training and choice making.
MARY WARD LORETO Foundation in collaboration with ANTTARC, supported by EU and in the framework of PACT project, are implementing the project entitled: “Learning, Practicing and Influencing Integrity Fellowship”. This is a 10-months project in Lezha Municipality working in close partnership with the institution of the Municipality and the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation. MWL Youth Project is now in Lezha and is implementing this project. The target of the project is:
a) the need for youth to actively participate in the decision-making and monitoring processes of local public policies and
b) the need to combat unlawful practices and unprofessional corrupt behaviour by public institutions.
It will achieve this by developing a project in which the Municipality will ultimately agree to grant access to rights, privileges, information and action for youth to find their empowerment and citizenship within the main public institution in town.
By this it is meant that the main aspect of the project’s implementation is a twinning program between the project and the Municipality in the shape of a youth ad-hoc internship which will allow youth to acquire a temporary post in the junior section of employment within the Municipality as interns.
One of its first initiatives has been the training of Youth. The first training has been successfully delivered by PhD. Albert Nikolla on Institutional Ethics. This topics was the beginning of the youth journey that will be followed by their internship in the Municipality of their town, Lezha.
21 young people and staff from the Municipality were present in the training. The youth group continues to meet regularly each week as a preparation for this intinternship programme.
Thank you MWL, thank you dad!
I am not a journalist, but when you are in such a situation and in front of a child, who stirs your heart, you desire to share this story with others.
As the local coordinator of the MWL Men’s Project in Lushnje. I often go for work visits to project members. One day I was going to Saimir Shehu, whom the MWL Foundation supported for conducting a professional welder course. While I was talking to Saimiri about the new job that he had started in a private business near his house (making iron gates, railing and some little works for the village community), a young girl of nine or ten years old, entered the workplace. I smiled and asked: “Who is this beautiful girl?” “My daughter”, said Saimiri and he continued, “Erisa welcome this uncle, he is the one who offered me the course”. Erisa saw me with welcoming, kind eyes and shook my hand, then went on: “You are at the foundation that helped my Dad, thank you.” “Why do you thank me?” “Because you make it possible for my Dad to have this job and now he is not going anymore to Greece for work.” “Why are you so happy that your Dad is not going to Greece?” I asked curiously. “Because I will not see my mom crying anymore. At last, Mom, my brother and I, we will celebrate Christmas and New Year together with Daddy at the table. “
Little Erisa said this and ran to her Mom. Saimiri smiled and waved his head, while I felt a relief in the chest, an inner joy and a heartfelt thanks to our donors, for the foundation, that at least one child delights the soul in this Albania, where the problems are endless.
Mary Word Loreto and the MWL Men’s project in the area of Shkodra have implemented, in this first phase, a total of 9 courses from the suburbs of Shkodra, after signing a cooperation agreement with the Director of Professional Courses in Shkodra in the branches of: Installation of Solar Panels, Joiner, Electro house hold Repair and Installation.
One of the interested people in these trainings was Mr. Lulash Shpataj, who was enrolled in the course of Joiner.
Lulashi, is father of a little one-month-old girl with his wife unemployed. He is a former soldier in the Armed Forces Department of the Lac Vau dejes. He is a returned emigrant, and left out of work after many layoffs! Lulashi attended the “Joiner” course re-starting after a previous experience in Greece, where he worked as a carpenter and desired to have work as an independent joiner.
After the course, he immediately began to engage as a carpenter in the social network where he was asked to make repairs. These included furniture for houses or work places. With the effort and sacrifice, he managed to make a mini workshop with the help of Mary Word Loreto.
This employment enterprise has now grown to provide work for himself as a carpenter in one of the Manufacturer Furniture Shops in Shkodra city and at his workshop too.
Lulashi feels very grateful to the Mary Word Loreto Foundation and thanks them for continuing this opportunity for giving him the green light to move on and uphold the life with his family.
For conducting professional courses for persons with no financial means.
Ermiri is a boy from the beautiful city of Shengjin. He is married and lives with his family. Like most young Albanians he is unemployed. He wanted to have a professional qualification but his economic situation did not allow him to do this. MWL activities in Lezha town and the opportunities offered to “Men” in strengthening the financial and social capacities, helped this man enormously. Ermir was offered a sponsorship with costs, for transport and equipment with a set of hydraulic tools, to work in plumbing. Ermir has successfully passed a professional course as a Plumber. Today he works in a construction company of Professional Hydraulics he is qualified and receives a monthly salary. As a result his economic well-being has been improved. Ermir is very grateful to MWL for the opportunities it offers to people, who for many reasons, have remained without realizing their dreams and passions. Today we present Ermiri’s case but there are other people in the city of Lezha whose lives have been changed for good by Mary World Loreto Foundation because of the opportunities it offers to people in economic-social need.
Report on the situation in Zall Bastar.
The dense rain precipitation in early December caused a lot of damage to Zall Bastar’s territory. The river level rise has collapsed the electricity pillars and the area has been left without powered for a long time. The rainfall intensity was unusual and powerful, resulting in extraordinary damage. The association “For the Gender integration Association”, an association that operates in the area for years and also supported by the “Mary Ward Loreto” Foundation, has identified the following damages:
We point out that the axes connecting the villages with the unit center are totally damaged.
Dense rain has collapsed the bridges and this has totally blocked the villages, the pupils ability to go to school. Nothing works in the area involved. Assistance from the local or central government has been scarce and this has made the situation worse in relation to need.
There is great damage in the Bridges:
- Totally damaged, the bridge that connects Upper Elevation Village with the Unit blocking in approximately 800 inhabitants. The problem is their supply of food and feed-based supply to livestock. In this area 15 houses are damaged.
- Damaged footbridges in Fezaj Neighborhood, which has led to children being prevented from attending school as it is the only way to connect residents of this area with the Middle and 9-year schools.
- The bridge linking Vilëz village with the center of the unit and the capital partly damaged but impassable even for heavy vehicles, blocked over 1000 inhabitants.
- Bastar Bridge connecting the villages of Bastar Mesëm – Bastar Murrizë with the unit and the capital is partially damaged. It is totally damaged at Bastar Mesme, Bastar Murrizë, where 1200 inhabitants are blocked from any transport.
- The Zall-Dajti Bridge is partly damaged. This is the only road linking Zall-Bastar Administration Unit to the Capital.
Attached to this information are some pictures from these floods.
A training session took place in Kallmet with 28 High school students on HIV/AIDS. The meeting was organized jointly with the Peace Corps Health Volunteer. A video was shown for the students about the ways this disease is transmitted and the preventative measures which the youth can follow to protect themselves. In Albania the most affected age-group by HIV/AIDS is the age group between 30-40 years old. The majority of reported HIV cases were acquired outside of Albania. Albania has this ongoing phenomena of emigration and people who are not aware of the risks of this virus are always at risk because of their sexual behaviour. Therefore the students were advised of the risks especially among the sexually active population. Every region in Albania has a free HIV testing centres which provide free testing and keeps the confidentiality of the people who present for such service.
A test was made at the end of the session to evaluate the information that the students had acquired during the session on HIV/AIDS.
At the end of this year Mary Ward Loreto will be moving into the 5th Anniversary of the Foundation. We are preparing to celebrate this time of achievement with significant events, in which we hope you will participate, in every way possible. We are grateful as we look back at the many new beginnings over these years, lessons learnt and fruitful action achieved in many rural and isolated regions of Albania. It is a time for rejoicing, of wonder and expectation. It is in the midst of great poverty experienced that the mission is unfolding. It is truly incredible how people, with very little, can find hope and new life. The ability to break through their boundaries and find personal achievement, new skills and growth into a fuller experience of life and freedom, is truly remarkable for so many of the beneficiaries. For this and many other gifts we are very grateful.
As we move forward into this anniversary year in celebration and hope, we will continue to break through our boundaries, with new projects in ‘’Service Learning in Education’’ and ‘’Learning, Practicing and Influencing Integrity Fellowship’’ in partnership with one of the municipalities in Lezhe. All the MWL projects are exploring new ways for ensuring human and economic empowerment for the many. Strategies for systemic change in the confrontation of patriarchy and the many areas of abuse committed against so many, is a priority. This newsletter has a different format which we hope you will find more interesting to read and share with others. We hope the home page gives you a more comprehensive outline of our news over these past few months.
This year of celebration reminds us again that new life is achieved by the many and that however small this may be, together we can make a difference. Happy Christmas to you all and Peace and joy for the New Year. Imelda Poole IBVM (President MWL)