Uniting Britain and 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.


“Women’s Right on Property” Training held in Bajram Curri, on 27th of February, 2019.

A very important training was held in Bajram Curri, on 27th of February organized by Mary Ward Loreto Foundation.

In Albanian society, property issues in the perspective of gender are never discussed. The patriarchal society has dictated the gender roles, and that all property belongs to men.

35 women and girls, participating in MWLW Project Programs, were part of the training “Women’s Rights in Property”. They received information about their family property rights, rights that are equal to those of the family of their husbands.

Raising awareness, skills, and capacity of women is revealing their integrity and empowering their role in society.

New perspective for women in the city of Bajram Curri, 1st February 2019.

Women and girls today struggle for social and economic equality in a patriarchal society that offers limited employment opportunities and where they are always at risk of abuse and trafficking.

Working in the remote areas of Tropoja has taught us that the human development approach, in addition to the economic empowerment of women, enables the improvement of the social status of women in need.

Working in network with state institutions and NGOs in the city of Bajram Curri, to provide services for these women, has brought to our attention the great need that women have for support not just in rural areas but also in the city.

In close cooperation with the Municipality of Tropoja Social Services Office, Mary Ward Loreto held an information and needs assessment session with women living in the city.

Unemployment, poverty, social isolation, discrimination, and a lack of access to services were the main problems the women brought to this meeting. Some of the women have experienced death or divorce, leaving them as the head of their household and raising children alone. This makes life very difficult especially considering the social mentality and attitude in the area. “This city is dead and without any hope,” said one of the women. She and her family struggle every day just to survive.

Mary Ward Loreto introduced the women to work that is developed at the grassroots level with people in need. Through networking, advocacy, and lobbying we strive for women’s rights and opportunities for personal and community development. We are planting hope!

Opening of the Souvenir Shop in Valbona.

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 giving 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!

Paliative Care Training with doctors in Tropoja.

The areas where MWL offers services are difficult. Many basic  services are not accessible to the beneficiaries. Therefore, the empowerment and support of state institutions who should be providing community services is one of the initiatives of MWL This initiative increases stautory staff capacities and consequently the quality of community services offered to the beneficiaries.

In collaboration with the Sue Ryder Foundation, MWL has began during this time the first session of Palliative Care training with 31 participants, from the primary health care staff and from B.Curr hospital. This course is scheduled for 6 sessions, giving the medical staff the opportunity to receive credits and certification in the work for Palliative Care. Increasing the quality of service increases access to health needs and reduces vulnerability in the community.

Eye Visits for Women in “Optica 1’ (Tropoja).

Strengthening the vulnerable communities to prevent trafficking in human beings is the core focus of Mary Ward Loreto’s work. But in these distant geographical communities, often “forgotten” by the services, there is no access to serbices for basic needs.

The needs are many, as well as different. MWL responded to the need for women to provide them with  ophthalmic visits.  This service is very limited in the Tropoja area.

In cooperation with “Optika 1”, Tirana, 10 women/ girls have gained a free eye examination visit, and those who had problems viewing were supported with optical glaces by MWLW.

Winning women also received a gift book from the staff representative of the optics.

We thank the staff of” Optika 1” , for their availability and human care bringing human dignity to all.


Tropoja preserves a good name for the production of delicious honey which is also used as a cure for various diseases. With the support of Mary Ward Loreto Women and as part of the economic empowerment of women, they are pushing ahead with the bee business,  providing income for their families. This work, which requires much time and dedication throughout the year and needs a good knowledge of beekeeping, has now produced 80 kg of honey. A good part of this honey has already been sold in the local market.

“…And who said that my hand only goes to the needles?”

Good news from Tropoja for the opening of the tourist season.

The development of this initiative has been Mary Ward Loreto Women Project in collaboration with the rural women from Tropoje. The shop was opened on May 12th and the impact has been immediate in the area, where there have been no such services in the past. Our customers are local residents, city residents of the surrounding villages of Bajram Curri who come to spend weekends with their families. Other buyers come as tourists from around the world and groups from different cities of Albania.   This year we have in the store many new handcrafts made by the women of the MWLW group. It is more than a craft: It is a story of women’s empowerment. Come and see this beautiful work! Thank you for being a part of this venture.

The progress of businesses in Tropoja

MWLW project in Tropoje, has implemented 8 mini-businesses this year to support the empowerment of women. These mini-businesses are: opening the shop in Valbona for the sale of handicrafts made by 20 women, the implementation of 2 businesses for breeding bees, 2 mini-businesses to raise goats and produce milk, a business with cows, an economic activity with sewing and mini-business to produce postcards. Businesses with artisan characteristics have been successful so far, such as tailoring, and postcards. These were sold in the Valbona shop. For the first year (July – September 2016), the value of craft products sold was 331,320 ALL. New livestock activities showed progress in the rearing of cows and goats, and the opening the beehive business, but income takes time since they are not in the production period until later next year.

Violeta history. A dream came true…

When Violeta was still a young girl she had a dream – tailoring. She married very young in her native village in Rajc, Tropoja in northern Albania. In her village there were some nuns who taught girls and women the tailoring course in which Violeta enrolled. Soon, however, she was pregnant and left Tropoja to be placed in another village in southern Albania in Fier, leaving her dream unfulfilled. Hard living, and economic problems and the bringing up of children, forced Violetta to lose her dream of nearly 20 years. MWL Women’s center in Fier offered a tailoring course to women and girls with the desire to learn and benefit from professional skills. Violeta enrolled at the center and started the tailoring course. She learned and is learning to cut and sew clothes with supervision from a very talented trainer Elsa. Little by little Violeta began the repairing of clothes, gaining incomes. By saving these incomes she bought herself a sewing machine to work in her home. She is still learning tailoring at the MWL center, and continues to work in her home repairing clothes and increasing the income little by little for her family. A dream extracted from the drawer for 20 years has become a reality. She did not believe she could ever realize this dream. Her words were: “Watching my own sewing machine in my house is incredible and I could not believe that I managed to come to this day, I am very happy”.

Women’s Craft from Tropoja

Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, launched a very important initiative: the opening of a kiosk for craft products. The development of the initiative has been the project MWLW with rural women in Tropoje. The shop was open in June and the impact has been immediate in the area, where there have been no such services in the past. Our customers are local residents, city residents of the surrounding villages of Bajram Curri who come to spend weekends with their families Other buyers come as tourists and groups from different cities of Albania, and also from around the world.

 “Women’s Craft from Tropoja” is located in Valbona. It is a store that offers various products crafts such as beaded jewelry, greeting cards embroidered by hand and customized products made in wool with cloth weaved by hand in a loom. Many other hand made products are sold such as: Hand made clothing and accessories for children and adults, kitchen accessories, traditional folk dress of Tropoja, products such as local honey, and mountain tea. There are a total of 15 women who produce various crafts and they have already made good sales although it has only opened just a month ago.

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Support for the girls education

Unfortunately, in Tropoja, many young girls left school due to discriminatory gender norms, poverty, and lack of infrastructure to protect the girls from threat of violence on the way to school and back. In collaboration with the municipality of Tropoja, and the community, transport to school has been provided for these young girls.

We noticed an increase in awareness about the importance of girls education in Tropoja. They showed an interest in social and psychological assistance to their daughters. One woman referred to the social worker, the case of her daughter who is going through early adolescence and seems to have learning disability. She has been supported by a specialist psychologist, with a treatment programme which includes the training of her parents and the school teacher. This was a successful case of good cooperation between school – family – psycho-social service, for a better education for the young girl.

Explain the situation of water and the local culture

The problem of irrigation water: In one of the rural areas (Cernicë), residents have suffered from a lack of irrigation water in the area which obstructs their progress in developing the land for agriculture. This impacts their living standards as there is no income from the land. The MWL Women social worker took this issue to the national authorities and undertook several meetings with the mayor. A project has now been prepared by the municipality to tackle the problem of water irrigation, however progress has been limited because of the lack of funding from the state, meaning, the project remains only on paper. A small amount of progress has been made however by the opening of the channel by the residents (initiated by a mayoral candidate in Bajram Curri before the June 21 elections). Meanwhile, with the new territorial division and the stabilization of the local government, the MWL Women social worker will re-address this issue to the new municipality.

New MWL centre opens in Tropoje

MWL Women’s project working in Tropoje is not only working at grassroots with beneficiary groups in the outlying villages, but it also has a center in the city called Bajram Curri. This MWL centre began operating in July, 2015. The center opened in order to provide services to women in the areas where MWLW operates in the north and to combat trafficking in persons. There is now an opportunity for all women to receive services or to be oriented to receive them.

The MWL centre offers the following services:
– Psychological support for women to deal with the trauma of abuse and domestic violence, to empower them emotionally and to overcome distress;
– Orients and accompanies the women to the service providers and follows up their cases till the solution is achieve;
– Socializing and economic activities and training workshops for the economic empowerment of the women’s group;
– This center also holds meetings with associates of MWL, in the area;
– It also provides information for the community in the fight against anti-trafficking;
– Training of leaders;
The functioning and effective provision of services in the MWL centre is the priority for our work. The aim is to achieve a free and healthy society.


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