The development of MWL Women Project in Fier
“Life through the pages of a book” are the meetings which are taking place with young girls and a teacher every week at the Mary Ward Loreto Center in Fier. During these meetings the young girls and those who will take the high school graduation are getting support for the exams by the teacher by analyzing and discussing the topic according to their social and literary point of view. They also choose the books which they read and share their opinions together. The comments and questions shared have made these meetings interesting and sometimes very amusing. These young girls have the potential to change their future and others through these means of socio-economic empowerment. They feel exited and are eager to come to these meetings and are satisfied for the support they are getting for their final exams. They enjoy this time they spent at the Mary Ward Loreto Women’s Center.
MWL Fier in cooperation with the Peace Corps Fier volunteer, organized three days of a summer camp with young girls.
The women of Fier had a training with Vincent, specialized artisan in the making of many crafts.
In Fier there has been a five-day training with Vincent, specialized artisan in the making of many crafts. Eight young girls were present for this training in handmade mosaics.
This was their first training. The girls group learned new techniques for these mosaics, releasing new products.
Following this training a weekly program will be developed with the girls who will work twice a week at the MWL offices in Fier, to continue making new products.
Living conditions of Fier’s women.
The women in rural and suburban areas of Fier live in difficult economic conditions. The brutal, patriarchal society does not offer support and dignity for women. Many of these women suffer abuse and domestic violence from their husbands. Several cases of domestic abuse have come to the MWL office in Fier. From a conversation with the social worker in the town of Patos, which is about 10 km outside Fier, the small town has a huge number of women who are abused physically and psychologically. Two of these cases were referred to our office. They have received psychological support and one of them is taking the tailoring course at our office. The conversation with the Ombudsman’s representative, remains problematic. Implementation of the order of protection for women saying No to this violence and who become divorced does not get the cases resolved. They often have nowhere to shelter. The Social Service Office of Violence Against Women in the district of Fier solicited the assistance of MWL to find shelter for a young girl with two children who was fleeing domestic violence. The Advice Center in Tirana found temporary shelter in the city of Shkodra for this girl and her children.
Let’s take the case of Liza from Levan. Her husband is mentally and physically unable to work or take care of the family. As a result, she has been the single head of her household since very early in her life. She has 2 minor children and does agriculture work to help raise them. This hard work has weakened her health. Liza has been active with the MWL’s women group for several months participating in social activities and human development activities. She has felt very good and comfortable with other women, and for the first time she has been able to think of herself. Now she has some real estate problems with her father in law, who has not supported her at all. She and her children feel threatened by him. MWL has referred the case to the Office of Child Protection and Domestic Abuse in Fier. This office is following her case and she has an order of protection from her father in law. MWL is also following her case and providing emotional and psychological support.
Promotion and sales in Fier
During May, women took part at different fairs to sell their handmade products at the Archaeological Park of Apollonia, and Darzeze Municipality. Apart from the economic benefit, fair events are the greatest teacher to the women in marketing skills. The women gained communication skills, and a knowledge of customer’s needs. Many contacts and clients have been established during this period of time. Another lesson for them was to assess the requirements of customers and to orientate their work in to improving the quality of the products.
For the last 3 months Jaru village, is suffering from drought without any rain. A woman recently told me: “This place is cursed.” It was the first time I had heard this attitude from a woman. During the following days I heard this more than 2-3 times. It was when I heard it a fourth time that I thought: Is it such? Jaru is a small village only 10 km from the city of Fier, one of the representatives of the biggest centers of the south and only 15km from Vlora, a coastal city and the largest in southern Albania. What leads women to think these things in such a small village? Does the fact that in these three months nature is not generous and leaves them suffering? Why do women not think like they did 20 years ago when they raised their hopes to build a better life by migrating from remote areas in the north of Albania to come to Jaru. Continue Reading…
The handmade jewelleries activity
The handmade jewelleries activity at first started within a group of young girls as a creativity session in group. It started with the preparations of small and easy to make bracelets, and day after day, they started to enjoy it. They developed new patterns and succeeded with the sales. The women’s group joined the activity. None of them had the idea how to do and create handmade jewelleries. We started with women and girls searching tutorial videos on internet. They showed a great ability to learn and work. This happened several months ago, now we have our products like bracelets, earrings and necklaces. We have participated even in some local fairs and sold the products and the group had their first incomes. Especially one of the woman is very talented and passionate in creating new pattern by herself and has sold products by herself to different costumers. This month she has been working at home, marketing her products and finding costumers, providing incomes for herself and her family. In one week we are This activity is developing day to day and it’s on the right path to get bigger and sustainable by the group.
The new MWLW’s office in Fier
The reconstruction of the new office in Fier is finished and now it is almost ready to function as a social center for MWL’s women. We will promote our office with all the stakeholders in the city of Fier. These will include the municipality office and NGO’s who provide services for marginalized target groups. We hope to exchange collaboration and form partnerships with them so that together we can support this target group. The MWLW’s office in its entirety has different spaces, each of them for a purpose. The key worker’s office will host every woman or girl who are seeking information or support for their problems or needs. Building this network of services will help us to respond and to follow up every particular need of the women and girls who will be accompanied to all the relevant services in the region. The meeting room will function for meetings related to human development and health care training with paid adhoc trainers. As we all know, women can make beautiful things by hand but struggle in selling them in a stable market. In the handcraft shop, which is an important room in the MWLW centre in Fier, all the products will be collected and displayed for sale. With so many different items this shop will be fantastic to visit. Last but not least the tailoring workshop has 3 tailoring machines. In this workshop a very professional seamstress will start her tailoring activity and at the same time she will be a trainer for other women and girls who will finish the tailoring course.