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.

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Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth organized the launching of  the research: “Ethics in the Education System in Albania”, in the southern region of Albania at the Restaurant Event Mustafa in Vlora.

The study was led by the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports. MWL employed ACER(Albania Centre for 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. The research used 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 southern 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 Vlora, was to spark new strategies and initiatives for the improvement of education for each child and for each young person in Albania.

We thank the speakers of the event for their gratitude, appreciation and sharing of educational issues together.

Thank you to Mrs. Rozalba Medani: Head of the Department of Education Policy and Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Mrs. Albana Hodaj Director of DAR in Vlora, Mr. Zef Preci and the Researchers from ACER. We also thank Mrs Edlira Gjoni for moderating the conference, the Board of MWL Education who led this work to its completion,  Mrs. Brikena Puka Executive Director in Vatra who assisted us with her local knowledge and Mr. Shaban Mehmeti Deputy Mayor of Vlora for his presence and carefully constructed words. We are grateful to all for such great collaboration throughout this process.

Please find below the most important issues which were discussed by the audience in the conference:


The participants were: Teachers from Vlora, Fier, Gjirokastra, Tepelena, Berat, Durres, Elbasan etc; Parents form Vlora; Students from Vlora

The participants discussed in round tables about the questions which were displayed on the monitor then they came up with their own comments and questions addressed to the reps from the MASR, MWL and ACER. The following are the issues discussed in the last part of the conference.

  • 1. The material delivered to the participants was welcomed by them.
  • 2. There should be a close relation among teachers, psychologist, social workers, parents, teachers, students, and the community.
  • 3. The Code of Family and the Code of Ethics have to be applied in the family, first.
  • 4. Teachers, parents and students have to be informed about the by laws not only via emails or internet, but they have to be provided with these documents in their schools, where they teach and where their children learn.
  • 5. The subjects that treat ethics in classes are not enough to educate the students in the schools, but all the teachers should find ways to teach ethic during their teaching in/out their classes in order to prepare their students for their future life.
  • 6. Ethical issues have to be included in the school Curriculum & Syllabus.
  • 7. The code of Ethics have to be applied in a vertical way (from top-down).
  • 8. To take preventive measures for violating the code of ethics.
  • 9. To make our students aware of the importance of the ethical issues in our education system.
  • 10. There has to be a special subject on the Code of Ethics in all the universities in Albania.
  • 11. What tools and ways is the MASR going to take and use in order to involve parents in policy decision and policy making?
  • 12. MASR, IZHA and all the NGOs have to do trainings on the Code of Ethics.
  • 13. Assistant teachers have to be professionals and they have to attend regular trainings on ethics side by side with their subjects.
  • 14. The best parenting has to be promoted by MASR and other NGOs.
  • 15. Teachers have to be strong, transparent and with dignity to defend their rights and actions on ethical issues in their schools.
  • 16. Mothers and fathers have to be trained in ethical issues.
  • 17. The Report on Ethics has to be used by the professional networks.
  • 18. MWL has to prepare a tool kit for teachers in the Kindergarden and elementary schools with different activities with Dos and Don’ts.

Hoping all these findings from the participants’ comments will help MWL and MAS to come up with a detailed action plan on teacher and parent training and we wish great success in the endeavor to develop a greater ethical Education System in Albania.

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 find below a reportage done by the local media in Vlora and some photos of the event:




The last exhibition held in Puka’s House of Culture was in 1991. This house was named during the communist regime and for the last 27 years nothing new or innovative has been found in the house, only a few old statues and pieces of furniture covered in a thick layer of dust.

70% of Puka’s population has left and when asked about their future, a majority of those still left are planning to move.

Picture 1, the new square of the city

Due to a large amount of money invested in the last two years by the government, the city has a new face. The plan for the investments is in its last stage of work. Everything looks new and bright, but when you see people walking down the new white walkway of the city, you won’t see many bright and happy expressions. Viktor, a citizen of Puka, told us his story of unemployment and living off of the social services of the municipality. He explained that he may only have 50 Euro per month to live on “…but now I can walk in Rome,” he said, showing us the new square.  The people of Puka are tired. They are not used to living in a city where the outside of the buildings are a dream while the inside holds hundreds of challenges; how do I feed my family? How do I educate my children? How do I move forward?

Picture 2, during the wood crafting course.

Last spring, Mary Ware Loreto Foundation launched a new project in Puka, with a course for crafting wood and learning the art of pyrography. In the launch of this project, two objectives were in mind; to offer economic empowerment for participants to sell their crafts and to offer Puka an opportunity to develop her beauty, art, and culture.

We are happy to announce that both of the objectives have been accomplished.

Four students are selling their products to tourists and visitors. Only 4 months ago, one of them was working as a shepherd; he is now working full-time in a provisory room, producing beautiful artistic crafts and souvenirs.

Picture 3, during the exhibition.

Now we can proudly say that the last artistic exhibition held in the House of Culture was not in 1991, but in September of 2018. With the support of MWL Foundation, 4 students and their instructor had the chance to show the city their art and passion. 120 pieces of artwork decorated the old House of Culture, bringing joy and hope to the city which has only seen exhibitions like this on television. More than 100 people attended the event, including the Mayor, representatives from the government, members of the Academy of Arts in Tirana, and other intellectuals who expressed highest acclaims to the Foundation and encouragement to the students who received their certificates signed by the President of Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, Ms. Imelda Poole.

Picture 4, students working

MWL is working hard to bring the brightness of the new squares of Albania into people’s lives. We fight for them to have more opportunity, dignity, and a new future.

Every kind of support helps us achieve this mission. Join us today!

“Changing minds, supporting victims- this is where Religious Sisters make the difference,” thus began the introduction to the evening as Ambassador Axworthy welcomed her guests. Ms. Axworthy ‘s fulsome acknowledgement of the work of female Religious and specifically Sr. Imelda Poole, was shared and appreciated by all present.

Ambassadors from Brazil, Canada, the Ivory Coast, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia and the US, Religious, friends, family, colleagues and co-workers working to combat human trafficking and exploitation, gathered at the residence of H.E. Ms. Sally Axworthy, Ambassador to the Holy See, on Tuesday evening, 25 September, 2018, to honour Imelda Poole, IBVM, on being awarded an MBE for her work to combat and prevent human trafficking.

Sr. Imelda shared about her work to combat Human Trafficking over the past 14 years and of the extent to which so much can be achieved through collaboration and partnerships. Citing a number of examples of cases where victims gradually overcame their ordeals at the hands of traffickers, Imelda urged continued and sustained support for the work which can transform the lives of the most vulnerable.

On behalf of the guests, Sr. Bernadette Boland, IBVM, Conf. Of  Religious, expressed gratitude to H.E. Mrs. Axworthy, for so generously acknowledging the work and for hosting such a beautiful and very special event.

The official MBE Award ceremony takes place at Buckingham Palace in November, 2018.








Mary Ward Loreto Foundation and the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth are happy to announce the Launching of the Research: “Ethics in the Education System in Albania”, in the southern region of Albania.

Date: 27 October 2018

Place: Hotel Mustafa Event, in Vlora City,

Time: 10:00 – 13:00, (Registrations start at 9:30)

Young people have a right to be empowered with a social and moral awareness in order to thrive in our society. This means preparing young people to be citizens ready to influence the growing democracy. Such values are not only taught but need to be demonstrated by all actors in the life of a school.

The prevalence of unethical behaviour in schools has never been measured before in Albania. Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, 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 behaviour. This research was conducted by a 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 voice in the Southern regions of Albania will add value and increase awareness of this situation. This voice of the South, spoken throughout this research, needs to be heard out loud and in public bringing to the table issues which are important in the education of young citizens in the Southern Regions of Albania.

Please contact us for more information about the research and about participating in this exciting event.


Tel: +355 44 500 388

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:


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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



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