The summer camp organized was called “Girls Empowerment”.

The camp lasted three days which included information about girls health, where girls had the chance to discuss openly about the health concerns of their age group which doesn’t happen very often. A major part of the summer camp’s  agenda included awareness against human trafficking and safe migration, since the age-group present was 5-17 and most of them plan to study abroad. They were reminded about being careful as to who they trust and befriend  in everyday life. Anyone can be a possible trafficker. The camp was organized so that the girls could have fun, play, swim but as well have the opportunity to learn self-defense techniques explained by Peace Corps Volunteers. This was also a fun time. Twelve young girls attended the camp which was organized jointly by Mary Ward Loreto and Peace Corps Volunteers.

 

Palliative Care Training.

A project organized and funded by Mary Ward Loreto Women project in collaboration with Directory of Public Health Lezhe and Sue Ryder Foundation, Albania, was launched to train the family physicians of Lezha district on Palliative Care. This training happened to take place at the time when the Ministry of Health had recently assigned two beds and three staff at Lezha hospital, to provide better care for this category of patients since this service was totally lacking. The family physicians were informed regarding the establishment of this new service which will help to improve the communication and referral system between Primary Health Care and Secondary Health Care.

This fact, together with the delivery of this training, aims to improve the service for this category of patients. 25 physicians are attending 18 modules of this training and the participants will gain 33 credits which will be acknowledged by the National Centre of Accreditation.

 

Broad Based Organising, (BBO) initiative undertaken by Women’s Network of Lezha.

In the framework of Broad Based Organising, (BBO), which has consisted in a series of meetings with a group of Women from Civil Society in Lezhe, MWL Women project jointly with Directory of Tourism, in The Municipality of Lezha, organized a  forum on Tourism which came out as a priority issue to be addressed by the BBO group. The main objective of the forum was to discus: how to make Lezha more attractive to tourists  with all the available resources that Lezhe cherishes. Participants from civil society and local state structures were present and gave their reflections on the challenges that tourism faces, and the lack of considering this important sector as a priority one. Successful businesses such as Mrizi i Zanave Agro tourism, Hotel Rapsodia and others were present. They pointed out the factors that have made them such successful businesses  in terms of the services they provide to their clients. During the meeting the Regional Director of Social Services emphasized the fact that tourism increases the chances of children human trafficking  which needs to be addressed further by all the partners and the community. The priorities that came out to be addressed unanimously were the following: Improvement of hospitality and services in the tourist resorts, expanding of tourist season, establishment of Tourist Businesses Union,  further more tourist guides  to show to the tourists  the religious, handcrafting, culinary, hiking, fishing and underwater tourism. These elements  are totally lacking in the region of Lezha.

Mary Ward Loreto is open to continue  collaborating with the local state structures  by providing support in  the sector of tourism in certain areas. The  aim is to impact women’s lives and children’s lives and to help them to promote better employment opportunities especially to vulnerable people. This would be a means of preventing human trafficking. 

 http://www.lezha.gov.al/web/TURIZMI_PRIORITET_I_BASHKISE_LEZHE_1126_1.php#.WQx7DolXeEd

General profile of women in Albania represented by women’s group of Kallmet, Lezhe.

Albania is a patriarchal society where men dominate women’s lives. This is especially true in rural areas such as Kallmet. Kallmet is a village located on the side of Vele Mountain between Lezha and Shkodra in northern Albania. Gender related stereotypes and patriarchal beliefs are root causes of gender inequality and domestic violence. These beliefs are deeply ingrained in rural life. As Albania transitions away from these beliefs, there is a growing divide between those who benefit and those who are left behind. Human-trafficking and increasingly severe domestic violence are challenges for women who still suffer from a lack of rights.

Additionally, problems such as poverty, unemployment, discrimination in the workforce, barriers to the education and access to health services, as well insufficient representation in the decision-making process, have been exacerbated. Mary Ward Loreto Women project is trying hard to address the social and developmental issues faced by women in these communities. In addition to trainings regarding women’s rights, gender roles and child rearing, women are now participating in economic activities to improve the financial situation for their families. Women are learning from training and from each other’s experiences. The women recently completed 234 jackets for the school children of IBVM in Spain. This doesn’t address all the women’s needs but the women appreciate such opportunity as a little encouragement for their lives.

Quotes from women: “Now I have a different life, I get out of my house in the morning and I have objectives for the day”; “I am learning new skills which are opening new opportunities for my life”. “I have a better time thanks to my friends with whom I work with”.

This has all been made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners and is highly appreciated by the women benefiting from the projects.

Training of school psychologists on Human Anti Trafficking

Tackling human anti-trafficking continues to be one of the main priorities of MWL. In this framework, in order to build up the awareness of staff who deal with the education of the younger generation, a training was organized with the school psychologists of the Lezha region on April 12, 2016. Some school directors and vice school directors of the most problematic high schools, where trafficked victims have been identified, attended the training as well.  The participants were from Lezha, Mirdita and Kurbin district and 18 of them attended the training including the person in charge of Psychological Services in the Regional Education Department of Lezha. The training was organized in collaboration with Different & Equal as a specialised partner of MWL on human anti-trafficking.

The aim of the training was that the school psychologists get to know more about this phenomenon; to get acquainted to the national and international legislation against human trafficking. Furthermore the school psychologists and the social workers were introduced to the recently approved law on the duties and responsibilities of the psychologist and social workers regarding the identification and reporting of possible cases of trafficked victims.  During the training the attendants presented the challenges which they face living in small cities where everyone knows everyone else. Even though they report the possible doubted cases, the police do not really follow rigorous investigation procedures in the cases. This training served to set up a network. The attendees were equipped with the required reporting forms and the collaboration will be ongoing since the age groups from 14 -18 year olds with whom they work are the age group at high risk of being trafficked in Albania.

WHY an Agriculture Initiative?

The women of Kallmet, in the district of Lezha, lack education and skills to find work. They are mostly skilled in agriculture and livestock. Referring to the advice of a local agriculture specialist made available to the project by the commune, the women agreed to plant Kallmet beans. This product keeps the name of the village. The objective of the initiative was to promote the cultivation of local products which relate historically and agriculturally to the village. This initiative has been a great success and all the beans have been sold in the market. Now the women have decided to develop this initiative with a new harvest of beans.

New office in Lezha

Mary Ward Loreto foundation is expanding the areas of intervention and is working to empower each human being with whom we work. Our actions are mostly focused on the most vulnerable people in the remote communities where we’re supporting them to grow as humans but as well we’re supporting them to grow as members of family and as members of community. We’re especially supporting the women to improve their financial situation in their families . By combining all these actions the project is trying to strengthen the women’s roles not just only in the family but gradually even in the community. The quote of Mary Ward “In the future the women will do much more ” finds place at all times but still even today there is an enormous need for women to do much , much more to provide their support , their strengths, to contribute to a better society and to a better world. Mary Ward Loreto Women project has a new office in Lezha and with the opening of new office the project staff aims to lobby about women’s rights at another level. Young women ,educated and who have special roles in the community have approached to the project and gradually the project aims to lobby together with these women about balancing gender roles , fighting corruption , to fight violence towards women and trying to build a better environment where their children grow aware of the risks of being exploited and trafficked , in a world where man and women enjoy equal rights .

GLOW Camp (Girls Leading Our World)

The Glow Camp was an initiative undertaken in collaboration with the Peace Corps Volunteer service in Lezhe . Thanks to several meetings and discussion a wonderful meeting was organised according to the girls needs in these rural areas. The aim of Glow Camp was not only to involve the young girls but to ensure that their involvement was meaningful. The camp aimed at building up the girls’ self-esteem, to help them appreciate themselves, their skills and everything that they are able to do. Through activities and games, Mary Ward Loreto Women project aimed at increasing the young girl’s awareness of the fact that they are little leaders today and by learning what their rights are and how valuable they are to the community, they will learn that tomorrow they will become the future leaders of the society.

The Beans of Kallmet – New beginnings in Lezhe, the way forward for this region

MWW project located in Kallmet of Lezha district has focused its efforts to improve women’s lives in three dimensions including human and social development and improving the level of incomes for women through the undertaking of economic initiatives.  Women lack education and vocational trainings and as result they lack employment. They are mostly skilled in agriculture and livestock. The women engaged in agriculture projects, even though they live in a village area, either lack land or they own very small surfaces of land. Based on their existing experiences, the women’s group has agreed to undertake an agriculture initiative.  Upon the advice of agriculture specialists and project staff the women agreed to plant Kallmet beans which is a well-known agriculture product in the area. This product enhances the name of the village and the objective of the initiative was to promote the cultivation of local products which relate historically and agriculturally to the village. These beans are now being sold in the most prestigious restaurants in the area. Furthermore the learning experiences of working with women indicated that only by working in the field can you address the needs of small groups of women in order to really impact the women’s lives. Besides this grass root work it is indispensable to work with institutions such as Social Services, the Employment Office and the Municipality. In order to address women’s needs both work needs to be at grass root level and for systemic change it needs to be developed at decision taking level through the collaboration with local institutions. Together we will aim to sustain change in women’s lives   Mary Ward Loreto Women Project is in these months expanding and opening a new office in Lezhe to work in different levels for this systemic change.

 Woman’s Right in Albania for Justice, Freedom and to Speak Her Truth!