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.
The first steps to alleviating the problems of rural women in Albania have already been taken, but gender inequalities are still deeply rooted in society and transformation needs to be accelerated, according to the new FAO report: Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in Albania. Only about 37 percent of women in Albania are recognised in the national data as being formally employed. In reality, though, a far larger number are working. Rates of informal work are higher in agricultural activities, and especially among women. Non-registered self-employment accounts for between 30 and 45 percent of Albania’s gross domestic product, as noted in the report. Women’s work in the informal economy and inside the home is unaccounted for in the statistics or undercounted. Structural and cultural barriers continue to inhibit women’s participation in higher-wage sectors and occupations.
The Mary Ward Social Business is trying to create new socio-economic opportunities for women and girls living in rural and underdeveloped areas by providing possibilities and opportunities for employment and self-employment.
The opening of MWL Social business project has led to a close collaboration with Yunus Social Business Balkans. The CEO of YSB is supporting the development of the strategy of MWL for opening the social business with three branches: the Valbona Souvenir and crafts Shop, the Kallmet Tailoring Workshop, and the Sale Point in Tirana. The concept of MWL Social business is to be a Fair-Trade entity. The first year will consist of producing and testing the market and establishing clients in the Albanian and foreign markets targeting the ethical retail companies and businesses. A sales representative is employed, who is experienced in this field and who will be developing the sales and the Mary Ward Social business in its first steps 10 women are already employed and are taking a fair wage with health insurances included and 23 other women are self-employed by working as our suppliers. Through this opportunity the established mini-businesses run by women will thrive.
The lack of information and support in health care is one of the biggest concerns in rural areas not just in Albania but all over the world. Under the mission of Mary Ward Loreto, a health care training to improve the health information of women, took place in May in Libofshe by MWLW Fier, in collaboration with the Administrative Unit of Libofshe. The subject of the training was hypertension, one of the main health problems faced by the people of this area. The training was led by Suela Spaho the health trainer for the women in Libofshe
Understanding what hypertension is, prevention, factors, consequences of hypertension, healthy diet and treatment of hypertension, were the main topics of this training. adhd. Individual health problems and experiences were shared by the women, showing their interest in and knowledge about health care. During the training, questions were raised which aroused interesting further discussion..
BMI calculation and checking of blood pressure were provided for all of the women participants. The trainer and the women were paying attention to their health problems and taking notes.
GLOW (Girls Lead Our World) Camp is an activity which takes place every year with Kallmet girls in joint partnership with peace Corps volunteers. Girls are encouraged to “glow”. Activities with girls age 14-16 aim at helping them understand their values and skills, building up their skills, and motivating them to make best use of these to overcome life challenges. The camp includes health education topics about girls’ health, teaching them techniques on how to avoid everyday life stress and how to manage it. They also learn how to identify community assets and how to promote them for tourism purposes. The camp offers plenty of fun activities too; yoga, an educational film, and volleyball. These activities ensure that the girls have fun and are entertained since their everyday lives lack such kind of services. We believe that by investing in girls we’re investing in the future of Albanian society, in the work place, successful mothers in the home and educators of coming generations.
The above statement is a statement that the MWL Women’s Project is dedicated to and which is becoming a reality in so many women’s lives. The Mary Ward Loreto Women’s Project works with the most vulnerable women in remote areas where women and girls want to take control of their lives. When they were young girls, the families didn’t invest in them; the only opportunity given to them was marriage; not education, not vocational training. No thought was given to how these young girls would overcome life challenges when they eventually became mothers. MWLW Project is helping to create an environment where women feel free to make decisions at home, even the decision to work. MWLW has undertaken this mission to help these women change their circumstances from unempowered to empowered, helping women to claim their rights through human development and the facilitation of employment.
Just now, thanks to our newly appointed development officer, we have presented the last six months report (cf www.albaniahope.com). This is filled with data and information of the incredible work of MWL staff who work tirelessly in every aspect of the mission in Albania against human trafficking, a pandemic in our world today, enslaving millions of people.
What have been the struggles throughout this short period? What are the blocks to progress in MWL’s work of prevention, awareness raising, direct action, advocacy, and campaigning against human trafficking?….