2022 Assembly


ANDANTE Newsletter, May 2016


ANDANTE, the European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organisations, has released its May 2016 Newsletter, available attached. Both RENATE and Mary Ward Loreto (Albania) are acknowledged in the Newsletter!
In addition to news from member organisations, the member’s statements of ‘international policy related to refugees’ and the outcomes of the ANDANTE General Assembly, (April 16th-17th, 2016) feature as the highlights of the Newsletter.
The ANDANTE 10 year Jubilee Brochure is embedded into the Newsletter and is a compilation of the various activities, meetings and events undertaken by ANDANTE in the last decade.
ANDANTE Newsletter_14 May 2016
Read and enjoy!
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Refugees Help MWL Staff Understand Better the Reality of the Crisis Today


The National Reception Centre for Refugees in Albania is in Babrru, Tirana. This centre is supported from the state budget and by the ministry of social welfare, with 15 staff members who offer all services: food, clothing, health care, education for children and integration into the albanian society. Food costs are provided by the state budget, who give approximately 3 dollars a day. Although this is not much it helps. Support also comes from other organizations such as the United Nations aid to Refugees organization which operates in Albania. (UNHCR) The link to this agency in the Balkans is: The process of their local integration is still a difficult challenge and a joint effort takes place between the stakeholders: refugees, public authorities, non-governmental organizations and foreign agencies.
Once the refugees have been registered and received the necessary immediate support such as legal aid, medical, both psychological and physical help, and the necessary financial aid, they either leave the centre to move on to a further country or they are housed in private accommodation which is self-financed or supported by NGOs. The centre in Babrru was opened in 2014. In this centre are all the refugees who are applying for asylum in Albania, mainly for political reasons.  The refuges over the past year have come from many countries such as Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Kosovo (these are regarding the present conflict between Serbia and Kosovo).
The highest number of refugees which they have had in the camp at any one time was 170 refugees. This was in February when a large number of Syrian refugees came to the camp.  At the moment there are 56 refugees in the camp, either as individuals or as a family, this includes a newly born baby who has special services. Right now there are 3 Syrians in the camp, last week there were 32 Syrians who left after they had received their initial papers. This gave them the freedom to travel through Albania and in to another country.
It should be said that in all this chaos, there were no identified cases of trafficking, however there were immigrants violated along the way and who could have been in the hands of traffickers and who were in trauma on arrival and are receiving psychological assistance. One girl from Afghanistan, whom we met, had a terrible rash all over her body, a distinct sign of being in post trauma.
Click here to read the entire Report on Visit to the Reception Centre for Refugees in Babrru, Albania written by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM & Manushaqe Cypi.

Mary Ward Loreto & URAT Anti-Trafficking Awareness-Raising Project in Albania


MWL and URAT Project in AlbaniaSince 2014, the New Project URAT in Albania, has led more than forty awareness-raising training seminars on human trafficking. Managed and funded by the NGO Mary Ward Loreto in Albania, the project is a collaboration with several other organisations present in Albania, e.g. the Peace Corps, the NGO Different and Equal, the IRCA (Institute of Romani Culture in Albania) and De Nobi Te Gruas Shqiptare. The project focused primarily on those who are socially and economically marginalised, the most vulnerable in Albania, who need protection against different forms of exploitation, including human trafficking.
A full report on the project is available at

Cross Cultural Exchange in Bled Lake, Slovenia, 24th – 28th November 2014


The Medaille Trust, who runs several shelters in the UK, invited Different and Equal, the NGO running the shelter for trafficked victims in Albania, to come together with 10 people from Albania and 10 from the UK to participate at the workshop ‘Cross cultural exchange’ organized between the UK, Albania and Slovenia” from November 24th – 28th 2014 on the Bled Lake, Slovenia. Mary Ward Loreto was invited to send two members of staff to be present at this cross cultural exchange. The Manager of Mary Ward Women’s Project, Ana Stakaj and the MWW Northern Areas Assistant Manager, Irena Kraja went to the event and both members of MWL staff had already established a strong working relationship with the Medaille Trust and had been to the UK to visit the shelters of the Medaille Trust and to continue with on-going work both with Albanian victims in the UK and through prevention work in Albania with vulnerable women. The following is their account of this enterprise.

1. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014
1. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014

This workshop aimed to provide necessary information on the different realities of human trafficking in UK, Albania and Slovenia, the approach of working with human trafficking victims, training of staff in direct work with the victims, and also to strengthen the collaboration between the parties.
This event started with a presentation of the situation of trafficking in Albania, led by Marjana Meshi, CEO of Different and Equal and followed by a presentation of the Medaille Trust Development Manager, Charlotte Kirkwood, on the situation of trafficking in UK.
Sr. Andreja Caks presented to the teams the beautiful Slovenian landscapes and also the situation of trafficking in Slovenia.
The methodology of this workshop included direct training, sharing experiences, study cases, team building and workshops on:
–          Dealing with conflict and aggression;
–          Substance use and misuse;
–          Protection and safety for the victims,
–          Professional boundaries;
–          Managing victim self-risk;
–          Working with child victims;
–          Therapeutic interventions.
The facilitation of these processes was led by Diane Killian, a professional consultant on social and health aspects, hired by the Medaille Trust.
Importance was given to the safety of survivors of trafficking and the staff. According to this, a training session was dedicated to conflict and fight management techniques. Participants shared their own experiences related to this and the way they dealt with issues of conflict. Caritas Slovenia, who manage a shelter for the survivors of trafficking, explained their strategy for protection and safety. They moved their premises each two or three years to different areas. D&E explained that the policies of the shelter related to staff protection, prohibit them from sharing personal information about survived victims, except their real name.
Each group shared their methodology and services offered for better rehabilitation of the survived victims. The main services included counseling, skype sessions, art therapy, vocational courses, gym, involvement in the house work, foreign language courses. The participants shared their experiences relating to the collaboration with the statutory services. The UK demonstrated an experience of good support offered to the survived victims, by the statutory services. This included economic support, and health services, which Albania does not receive.
Two police officers, Phil Brewer and Karen Anstiss from the Metropolitan Police in UK, heading the anti-trafficking and kidnapping unit, explained the way in which the Met police is organized to fight human trafficking through, the intelligence, the denunciation, interrogation process of the victims, the process of investigation of the traffickers, and referring the victims to the shelters or other services.

Team building

2. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014
2. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014

The bonding outside the working hours was important in the fact that it was at these times that the key workers of MWW had the most effective communication with the key workers of Medaille Trust. They expressed the importance and effectiveness of the ongoing exchange of experiences and visits between Albania and UK as it provided the necessary knowledge about the culture and system of each country and the challenges faced during the mission. The importance of keeping in contact through Skype sessions was stressed as very important not only with counseling for the Albanian victims, but also between the managers as a peer group friendship support.
Achievements: Development, Bonding within staffs, Empowerment, Collaboration.
The final session of this workshop was to set up goals for the follow up of this event.
The CEO’s of Medaille Trust, D&E, Metropolitan Police and the Manager of MWW Group outcomes were:
–          Expand our collaboration cross border through online assistance;
–          Work to find funds for having another similar workshop for the next year;
–          The Metropolitan Police will use their media facilities to promote the collaboration in the UK, Albania will raise awareness for further similar cross border collaboration.
It was an important experience to have and it was a very enriching professional experience. The facilitators were excellent and provided techniques and information to be implemented with the MWW staff in our everyday works. We were both very pleased and thankful that it was made possible to have this experience.
With gratitude, Ana Stakaj & Irena Kraja

Awareness Campaign in Albania to mark the European Anti Trafficking Day


Mary Ward Loreto (MWL) are busy running a Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign to mark the European Anti-Human Trafficking Day. Featured below are some photos of attendance at a recent Information Seminar held in conjunction with URAT.
For further information, check out

MWL Training in Albania_1
MWL Training in Albania_1

MWL Training in Albania_2
MWL Training in Albania_2

MWL Training in Albania_3
MWL Training in Albania_3

MWL Training in Albania_4
MWL Training in Albania_4

MWL & URAT: Report on Training Initiatives in Albania


MWL/URAT (Mary Ward Loreto/ United Religious Against Trafficking) have compiled a report on their anti-Human Trafficking training initiatives in Albania, up to July 2014 last.
URAT is an Albanian word which means “bridges” and is an appropriate abbreviation for work which helps to build bridges of understanding and knowledge within the various communities.
So far this year, Mary Ward Loreto and URAT have conducted almost thirty Human Trafficking awareness training seminars with schools and municipalities throughout Albania. Engaging Peace Corps Albania and the NGO “Different and Equal” (works to support women who have been victims of trafficking ), Mary Ward Loreto and URAT have done enormous work in drawing materials together in order that training seminars are both informative and empowering of people, so that they can act to prevent and stop human trafficking.
For further information, please see  and the report attached URAT Report_July 2014