Albania Mission Against
Human Trafficking

MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change. The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

Mary Ward Loreto Latest Happenings

1 2 3 7

Mary Ward Loreto has been part of a programme developed by ICITAP who arranged a training on Sex Crimes Investigation in the USA for a group of representatives of Albanian State Police, a social worker, and a psychologist. Arveda Baholli, a social worker of MWL Women ACT Center, attended the training. She was part of the expert team who developed a course on a “Victim-Centered Multi-Agency Approach to the Investigation and Management of Sex Crime” at the Albanian State Police Security Academy, sharing the knowledge and good practices with students – future police officers.

The topics covered by MWL were “the role of the social worker in addressing the victim’s needs and supporting the police work” and “social services for victims of sexual assault”. On the last day of the course, a short session on “Stress Management” was presented by the social worker and another psychologist of the group.

An English police representative was part of the team as well, who introduced the British Police methodology. This training course had an inter-institutional approach, focusing on the victim, management, and investigation of sex crimes. The outline of the 2 sessions included presentations, group discussions, and small group planning.

During the 5-day course, all trainers gave positive inputs and showed a willingness to achieve best practices. According to evaluation of the training, it was found to be very helpful and valuable for the daily work of the investigators.


MWL Foundation launched a very important initiative this month: the opening of the kiosk for craft products. The development of this initiative has been in part by Mary Ward Loreto Women’s Project and the rural women from Tropoje. The shop was opened on May 12th to tourists that have visited and seen the women’s products. Our women are happy and hopeful for this opportunity to sell their crafts and see the fruits of their labor. They work every day and put their creativity into the work to give the clients a high quality product that they will love.

It is more than a craft, it is a story of women’s empowerment.

Come and see their beautiful work! We are planting hope together!

Thank you for being part of this venture!





































Sister Imelda Poole was made Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition to her service to end modern slavery. 

On 9 June 2018, Sr Imelda Poole, IBVM was made Member of the Order of the British Empire in The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018, for her achievements and services to end modern slavery.

She receives this honor as the President of Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation (RENATE) and President of Mary Ward Loreto Foundation (Albanian Mission Against Human Trafficking).

Sister Imelda Poole is a British religious sister who for nearly 10 years has led the RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) network fighting modern slavery across 28 countries in Europe. Through her outstanding leadership, the organisation has made a significant difference in improving religious sisters’ support to victims of human trafficking and strengthened the religious orders’ cooperation with law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice. She has brought great credit to the UK, and made a significant contribution to the Prime Minister’s objective of eradicating modern slavery. This contribution is in addition to a lifetime of service in support of the most marginalised people in society including Manchester, Glasgow and Middlesbrough in the UK.

On learning of her award Sister Imelda Poole said:

“This is an honour which I accept on behalf of the Female Religious and coworkers who are contributing, through the mission of many international networks such as RENATE, to combating modern day slavery and on behalf of the dedicated staff of Mary Ward Loreto in Albania who are passionate in this same cause. May this award expose even further the terrible crime of human trafficking which, as Pope Francis has declared, is a crime against humanity itself.”

On the announcement of the award, the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, said:

“I am delighted to learn that Sr. Imelda Poole has been awarded this honour by Her Majesty The Queen.

It is well-deserved recognition of Sr. Imelda’s outstanding service in combatting human trafficking and modern slavery, through the European religious sisters’ anti-trafficking network RENATE which she leads, and through and Talitha Kum, the religious sisters’ worldwide anti-trafficking network.

 Sister Imelda is a key ally in Her Majesty’s Government’s campaign to eradicate modern slavery. It is wonderful to see such a distinguished friend of this Embassy honoured in this way.”


Media Coverage:


(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ''; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Sister Imelda Poole, a British Loreto nun (IBVM), has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours 2018, for her achievements and services to end modern slavery.

Posted by Vatican News on Sunday, 10 June 2018



Patty Stein: MWL Development Officer

I am from the United States, a recent graduate from the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!) with a degree in Nonprofit Organization Management, and one of the most recent additions to the MWL Foundation Team as the Development Officer.

I moved to Tirana in February after graduating in December and am living here with my sister, her Albanian husband, and their 3 kids.

It has been a whirlwind of a few months here at MWL and I’d love to share with you why I love working for this foundation, what I’ve been up to, and where we are headed.

As the Development Officer at MWL, my job is to communicate what we do as an organization and ease the tension of funding so that the staff can focus on their projects and doing what they do best.

With this team as my lifeguards, I have jumped into the deep end and been completely submerged in the work we do all across Albania. I’ve visited communities of our Women’s project, attended the Education Conference in Shkodra, been involved in meetings, networking events, and was able to attend the staff training week in April.

To say the least, the work that MWL is doing is extraordinary.

I’m blown away by the passion and the drive that the staff possess and bring to work every day.

We recently wrapped up another 6 months in our work year and one of my first tasks was to put together our 6 month report. It is now available on our website, here . Please take the time to have a look and see not only where we have been but also where we are going and what dreams we have for our programs.

This is the part where I come in. As you can see from our 6 month report, our projects are needed; to best serve the people of Albania and fight human trafficking, they need to be allowed to stretch and grow.

In order for this to happen, we need to grow our funder base and seek out more funding opportunities. Until now, these ventures have been difficult to achieve simply because of how much work there is to do and how busy the existing staff already is. Since bringing me aboard, I’ve been able to give some relief to the staff, allowing them to focus on their projects while I focus on how we will fund them.

I have been eagerly putting together a new fundraising plan with a fresh perspective on where we are headed and where we hope to be in the coming year.

As we said in our 6 month report, this 5th anniversary year is a very exciting time to get involved with Mary Ward Loreto Foundation. We are reaching more people than ever and we have big plans for the coming year.

Can you help us reach our goals?

Have questions about the coming year and how you can get involved?

Reach out to me directly and let’s talk about how we are “Seeking Truth, Doing Justice” and “Referring all things to God” as Mary Ward once said and how you can be a part of what we hope is our best year yet.



Mary Ward Loreto Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth organized the launching of the research, in the northern region: “Ethics in the Education System in Albania”.



On May 19th, 2018, Hotel Rozafa in Shkodra was the venue for the conference devoted to the findings of the research study: “Ethics in the Education System in Albania.” The study was led by the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports. The study was carried out by ACER—Albanian Center for Economic Research—led by Dr. Zef Preci.

The prevalence of unethical behavior in schools has never been measured before in Albania. Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, have initiated a nationwide research in all levels of education, from preschool to Master’s level, in order to measure the severity and frequency of unethical behavior. This research was conducted by the highly academic team of ACER led by Dr. Zef Preci, using a mixed methodology with a representative sampling for each level of education nationwide.

As an important actor in education in Albania the voices in the northern region added value and increased awareness of this situation. This voice brought to the table important issues in the education of young citizens in Albania.

The goal of the conference in Shkodra, was to spark new strategies and initiatives for the improvement of education for each child and for each young person in Albania.

170 participants attended this conference: Teachers, representatives of the Education Ministry, Parents, students, NGOs and representatives of municipalities from northern Albania.

The panelist and speakers of the conference were:

Ms. Rozalba Medani   Head of Policy and Strategy Sector Education in Ministry of Education,   Sports and Youth;

Sr. Imelda Poole           President of Mary Ward Loreto Foundation;

Dr. Skerdi Zahaj            ACER—Albanian Center for Economic Research;

Dr. Shpresa Delija       Moderator of the conference and the board member of the MWL  Education Project;

S. Kadri Ymeri                   Regional Education Directorate of Shkodra;

Dr. Elona Mëhilli          MWL Education Project, Board Member;

Dr. Elona Dhembo       MWL Education Project, Board Member;

Dr. Gerda Sula               Education Expert and coordinator of the research work.

Sr. Imelda Poole – MWL Foundation President, gave a deep talk on WHY THIS RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT:

Imelda Poole, Mary Ward Loreto President during an interview with local media.

“At a time when Albania is working towards its full membership in the EU, the Albanian government has committed to revising its conceptual framework for quality education, following the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Education Programs, which point to democratic Education, life skills learning and character formation.

Mary Ward Loreto Foundation is committed to execute its core value on Freedom, Justice and Sincerity and eliminating human trafficking. None of those values can be achieved or the goals aimed for if the systems in Albania are not functioning at the all levels of excellence and especially in education.

Before any change, there has to be research to see what breaks excellence. This research is a first step. Research leads to recommendations and recommendations lead to change, if they are followed.

In the North mobility is an obstacle that is not being addressed, and the school system is not serving the community. We have come to Shkodra because your reality is different; you need to be heard and responses need to be made to suit your needs.

 Following the first national conference in Tirana, MWL’s Education Project in collaboration with the  Rogationist school in Lezhe, is implementing the Service-Learning methodology.

Service learning involves students in service projects which apply classroom learning in collaboration with local organizations that exist to effect positive change in the community. It is defined as ‘a philosophy, pedagogy, and model for community development that is used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.’

Service learning is learning through action. The students apply what they learn in class to community issues and at the same time learn from the experience as they achieve real objectives for the community. It leads to a democratization of the school system.

MWL 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”.  MWL Youth Project, led by Gazmir Memaj, is now in Lezha and is implementing this project. The target of the project is the need for youth to actively participate in the decision-making and monitoring processes of local public policies and the need to combat unlawful practices and unprofessional corrupt behavior by public institutions.

The main goal is democratization of the working of the municipality and transformation for systemic change.

We will answer to this auditor and follow up all the action points which came up and especially we will evaluate the impact of the findings of this research. This study report is shared in all schools that have participated in the research. We are planning to share it even in other schools.”

Please click here to read the study report “Ethics in the Education System in Albania”, in English.

Ju lutem klikoni këtu për të lexuar raportin studimor “Etika në Sistemin Arsimor në Shqipëri”, në shqip.

Please click the link below to read the full minutes, including all discussion points, of the MWL Education conference.  We hope you will find these minutes an interesting addition to the excellent Research project now published on this website. Minutes: Conference – Ethics in the Education System in Albania, 19.05.2018.

Please click the link below to find the PRESENTATION: METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS OF THE RESEARCH from Dr. Skerdi Zahaj – ACER

Please click the link below to find the presentation of Dr. Blerta Bodinaku – ACER: Recommendation of the Research. Please click here to download it.

Pictures below taken from the conference in Shkodra:


Shkodra, May 19th, 2018

1 2 3 7