RENATE Working Board meeting in Durrës, Albania
9-16 March, 2015
The reassuring words of Matthew 18:21 ‘’For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst,’’ set the tone for the yearly general meeting of the RENATE Working Board in Albania.
Because the Working Board gathers formally once a year, the meeting is of great importance not only as a time when Board members make time to get together, share knowledge and best practise concerning human trafficking and exploitation, but equally as a time of discernment for when Board members and staff reflect upon much that has been achieved over the last year, and to plan for all that is yet to be done in order to fulfil the mission, vision, goals and objectives of RENATE.
With 18 European countries represented around the table, the excellent facilitation provided by Patricia Mulhall, CSB, was essential to the 28 participant’s full participation and to ensuring a productive week together.
The work of the week included consideration of the following:
- The RENATE Annual Report, 2014.
- The audited accounts for RENATE, for the period 1st October 2013 to 30th September, 2014.
- Discernment processes, with a view to informing future priorities.
- Capacity building, with the specific intention of increasing membership from Eastern Europe.
- How best to deploy existing resources, i.e. development of the WEB.
- Communications, with an appeal to all members to engage, respond and be more proactive in communicating their local stories and initiatives.
- RENATE Corporate Campaign, where the Board identified significant dates in the calendar for RENATE to make, e.g. International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking; St. Bakhita Day, 8th February and European Human Trafficking Day, 18th October.
- Mapping Exercise, update and likely composition of the final report.
- Support available through grant-aid from RENATE e.g. to assist local projects; improve English-language skills.
- Katholikentag 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, where RENATE will take a stand to promote its work, as well as awareness raising.
- Future trainings e.g. Madrid, Spain 31st May- 5th June, 2015; Dublin, Ireland 25th-31st October, 2015.
Delegates appreciated the thorough insight into the local situation in Albania, as conveyed by guest speakers Ep. George Frendo OP; Fr. Giovanni Peragine; Mrs. Edlira Gjoni; Mrs. Elona Gjebrea and Mrs. Marjana Meshi. Each of whom shared aspects of the following specific to their own individual responsibilities:
- The rich Religions and Faith Traditions of Albania.
- An overview of the Conference of Religious in Albania.
- The cultural reality of Albania.
- An overview of the human trafficking situation in Albania and Government policies to try to combat this.
- The work of anti-trafficking at grass-roots level in Albania.
At this year’s working Board, there were new members from Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Malta who brought new perspectives to bear, which created an interesting dynamic .
Each day’s work was underpinned by Mass at the beginning of each day and Theological Reflections, based on the daily theme/topic, drawing the formal business of the day to a close.
The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the Field Trips to witness first-hand the mission of anti-trafficking in Albania, through Mary Ward Loreto and the Roma Projects; Different and Equal Project; and sharing time with members of the local women’s group at Shkoder/Hot I Ri project.
Through these projects, the enormity of the challenge to try to combat human trafficking was reduced to realistic possibilities and where the phrase ‘’No longer slaves but brothers and sisters’’ came alive.
Believing that God will ask each of us ‘’What did you do for your brother/sister?’’ (Gen 4; 9-10), the work of the week through formal meetings, prayers, liturgies, various exchanges and quiet reflection ensured that each participant returns to her own country strengthened in her commitment to the social teachings of the church in which the work against human trafficking is considered the mission of God.
Clearly enormous work was undertaken by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE and her team at Mary Ward Loreto, Albania. No request seemed too much to ask. The team were true ambassadors for Albania, as they worked conscientiously to ensure the success of the Board meeting in their country.
Justa del Sol_Memorias de Albania_ES
RENATE Communications Person