The beginning of December opened after a brilliant four days holiday celebrating Independence Day in Albania. Albania had been freed from the hands of the Turks just 101 years ago. During that time Sally and I visited Kruje with Pjeter Tanushaj, our logistics officer. Kruje is the seat of the hero warrior of Albania, Kastrioti Skandenbeu. We had a happy holiday which also included a trip to the opera house, for two great nights, to listen to the Maria Kraja performers compete for the best singer of the year. It was brilliant. Sally Keeley continued to stay with us until December 17th so there was a great deal of activity for all of the workers, as the different training programmes gradually unfolded. We were sorry to see Sally go after a such a good time of wonderful conversation and an invaluable experience for all of the workers.
During this time we also welcomed the British Ambassador who asked to come to Mary Ward Loreto to experience something of our work. We were very proud to welcome Nicholas Cannon at this time. He loved meeting all of the staff and having the chance for personal conversation with so many of them. They discussed the work and their dreams for the future.
Imelda Poole IBVM (Loreto) and Ana Stakaj welcoming Nicholas Cannon, the British Ambassador in Albania, to the Foundation offices of Mary Ward Loreto
In the Meeting Room with some of the Staff of Mary Ward Loreto
Ana Stakaj and Irena Kraja discussing the work of Mary Ward’s Women with Nicholas Cannon
Great progress was made during this time with the project URAT. All the marketing materials were produced by the end of this month, in readiness for the training programmes against trafficking in human persons, to take place in 40 areas of Albania in 2014.
Below are some examples of these training materials, Besides these the team leading this project will use a photonovello, posters, questionaires etc etc.
The Think Tank Education Albania is also moving along at a pace and as we speak they are finalising the questionnaires to be used in the research, planned in the New Year.
The Mary Ward Loreto Board meeting met again in December to finalise all the legal requirements for the change of address for the Foundation and also to register the Board in the courts. We now have a new member who has replaced Estela Bulku who had to resign in November due to conflict of interest. She has been promoted to UN status. We congratulate Estela and welcome Zef Gjeta as the new member of the Board. He is an agriconomist and works at the university of Tirana at the college of agriculture and also works in the field advising farmers on new developments. Zef is an advisor for the project Mary Ward’s Women. We are glad to welcome him into this group.
Many meetings took place this month, as for some of the projects, it is the end of a financial year and so there were many reviews of work and closures of this years finance accounting.
We ended the year with a great night out at a restaurant called Dy Luani (Two Lions) which also had the added extra of a local music group which meant that besides eating and having good conversation we also had a night of music and dancing. It was a great end to the year. The pictures say it all!
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends around the world and to all those who might read this news. We hope you have a very merry time and that the New Year brings much peace and many blessings.