“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.
Feast Day 8 February 2019: International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking. “TOGETHER against human trafficking”.
In light of St. Bakhita Day, the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking, a meeting was held with youth from the Diocese of Lezhe . The story of Josephine Bakhita was shared, and the youth heard of the exploitation she suffered from the age of seven, being sold and resold five times. St. Bakhita lived in the 18th century, but stories like hers are still happening today. We cannot fight the terrible crime of Modern-Day Slavery unless we unite and work together.
“Together against human trafficking” is our appeal to every teacher, every social worker, every governmental and nongovernmental worker, and to every leader. We need to address this terrible crime together, to provide better opportunities for education, employment, and safety for the vulnerable and trafficked.
The meeting with the youth was closed in hope with a prayer against human trafficking.
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!
MARY WARD SOCIAL BUSINESS
Creating sustainability for the women and girls to decrease the risk of trafficking and exploitation.
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.
Selling the women’s products in Butrint park market in Saranda.
We have very good news from Saranda, where the past month has seen the progress of a very important initiative. The summer season is open and “opened” are the opportunities for the MWLW group from Shendelli, to sell their hand-crafted products in Butrint Park in Saranda. Seventeen women of this community have worked very hard to be ready to present their beautiful crafts: jewelry, bags, clothing, and souvenirs in the market. They are happy for this opportunity because it allows them to bring more money home for their families.
Thank you so much to the Director of the Park In Butrint for the support of the project. We are open for business so please come and see our beautiful crafts!
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!
Health training in Libofshe.
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. 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 CAMP 2018.
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 lack of sheltering and alternative support for victims of violence and human trafficking.
There is a fact that violence against women in all forms, is on the increase and cases are becoming public. Even though women are granted equal rights with men by law, they still remain exposed and submissive to men’s authority. There are many social and economic factors that lead to women remaining vulnerable. The greatest factor is the lack of shelters for women and girls at risk. This has been one of the biggest challenges faced while working with women/clients at MWL Women ACT who are at risk and need accommodation and protection.
Shelters in Albania host only victims of trafficking and domestic violence who already have the status of victim or have a protection order. This makes an issue to refer cases that do not yet obtain such status or when the protection order is not valid. Apart from this factor, even when women do have a protection order, these shelters are very often full to capacity and cannot host new cases. Therefore most of the support given by the shelters is long after the violence has happened and is proven through the courts with the police statement re the denunciation as a witness. Until then the case remains at a level of treatment and not for prevention of more harm.
Women and girls who are vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation, and need comprehensive support, have already received it at MWL Women ACT, such as awareness of the risk, advice on protection, referral to relevant services.
The economic situation enforces women and girls to remain dependent on the perpetrators. To help these women/clients at ACT, we have offered them referrals to service providers in order to gain benefits from social and economic aid, employment, psychological support, and emergency food packages in collaboration with Food Bank Albania.
Report on the work in women’s jail: The psychologist of MWL Women ACT, offering trainings and self-help group facilitation once a week.
Mary Ward Loreto has initiated a collaboration with Sole Centre who run a project in the women’s jail IEVP, Nr. 325 Ali Demi Tirane. The Sole project is for the reintegration into the community for imprisoned women. This is through developing employment skills and through human development programmes. MWL was invited to give its contribution and expertise in psychological empowerment with women inside the jail. The psychologist of MWL Women ACT is offering trainings and self-help group facilitation once a week.
Weekly training sessions and self-help groups or support groups, have started with 10 women. The main aim of these sessions is the rehabilitation of the women so they have a successful reintegration into society after their release and to enable them to live their lives in a more meaningful and a better adjusted way.
Life after a traumatic experience is never easy. For many of these women offenders, committing a crime has been a traumatic experience, and inprisonment confronts them even more with the consequences of their deeds. Furthermore prisons in Albania emphasise punishment to make up for the crime and has no sense of understanding the need for education for change. These women come from different areas of Albania with different cultures, different social issues and different approaches of facing life and problems. They have coped with different external and internal issues which led to their criminal activity and for which they were convicted. They have poor coping mechanisms therefore face them with frustration while interacting with each other.
In a two months period of time the sessions have been focused on providing an understanding of self-help groups, positive group dynamics and a sense of belonging to the group. The focus has also been on acceptance of differences and on building motivation for mutual support. These sessions offer the members a safe non-judgmental environment for self-disclosure where they can learn to explore themselves and share their stories, their feelings, and their issues. They are entering into e process of recovery and need to strengthen mutual support for each other leading to the mutual goal to help each other to cope with inprisonment during and after their sentence.
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.
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