The newly-registered Mary Ward Loreto UK charity launched on Thursday 19th May 2022, commemorated at the Albanian Embassy in London with the hospitality of His Excellency Mr Qirjako Qirko, Albanian Ambassador to the Court of St James.

The event also celebrated 100 years of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Albania. Aptly, the launch was attended by both the Albanian Ambassador and by the British Ambassador to Albania, Alastair King-Smith, among an audience of Mary Ward Loreto's patrons, trustees and friends.

His Excellency Mr Qirko welcomed the room and among many kind words about Mary Ward Loreto's (MWL) work in Albania, he compared this work to the example set by the Albanian-born Saint Mother Teresa, citing her as having often said it was "better to light a candle than to blame the dark".

Sr. Imelda Poole MBE IBVM thanked all involved and described many of her experiences forming relationships with Albanians affected by human trafficking or left vulnerable due to economic hardships, and the work done by the teams of self-giving, professional people who make up MWL's organisations throughout Albania.

Chair trustee Dr Mary McHugh explained the purpose of the new UK-registered charity, namely to sustain the work of MWL in Albania by fundraising, and stated in no uncertain terms "we'll be after your money" and any contacts who may be of assistance to further support MWL's efforts.

Proceedings briefly paused for an impromptu congratulations for a friend of Mary Ward Loreto's, who arrived having passed her viva for her doctorate thesis on human trafficking the same afternoon.

Sr. Imelda could not pass up on the opportunity to have the room applaud the embarrassed but beaming graduand. One of many small but meaningful moments during the evening, which demonstrated the sense of togetherness of the people involved in the organisation.

His Excellency Mr Qirko took care to communicate a more leisurely side to life in Albania, which as became more than apparent, is a country of immense natural beauty, unusual religious harmony and diversity, generous hospitality to outsiders, and of course delicious food.

The new UK-registered charity will exist in direct partnership with Mary Ward Loreto Albania, and will allow philanthropists and organisations from the UK to donate easily and effectively in support of the life-giving work undertaken by Mary Ward Loreto in Albania to combat human trafficking.

The UK government's Gift Aid programme moreover will allow any donations from UK taxpayers to be awarded a 25% bonus.

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Learn more about how we work to protect potential victims of trafficking and help survivors through rehabilitation.