Awareness and Inclusivity
Shpresa is founded on a strong culture of family, friendship, solidarity and warmth, which in turn gives rise to high levels of trust and openness.
Raising awareness of the Albanian culture in schools and community groups is vital for promoting positive integration. Our programme of activities and the provision of a ‘community space’ further enhances this sense of cultural identity – communicating what it means to be Albanian through language, dance and events.
Shpresa’s effective and progressive training strengthens family ties by facilitating better communication between parents and children, and building relationships with grandparents. Clarity of identity is one way for individuals to understand their place within British society and simultaneously increases awareness and respect from those outside of the Albanian speaking community.
We send welcome messages to all newcomers so that they can take advantage of all training opportunities as quickly as possible.
Many different journeys bring hundreds of Albanian-speakers to the same destination: the UK – a land of promise. Shpresa Programme helps these newly arrived refugees and migrants to feel less isolated by guiding and supporting their integration into UK society. Our services are designed to reduce the stress and loneliness that people experience when they are unsettled and everything around them is unfamiliar. We aim to make all new experiences easier, and equip our users with the knowledge they need to make positive steps to establish a life here.
Through our courses, workshops and training, Shpresa service users learn what sort of support is available to them and how to go about obtaining it. We provide hands-on assistance (learned from real-life experience) and help with everything from contacting and communicating with local or national authorities, to supporting claims and submissions for universal credit, and understanding and replying to letters and emails. For many newly-arrived Albanian speakers to London and the UK, Shpresa is the first point of contact, but we are here to support them long after that. Our training is shaped from our collective experiences, so our service users can continue to develop through it.
This experience includes but is not limited to:
- Albanian speaking refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in the UK
- Engaging effectively with Albanian speaking parents and children
- Albanian speaking parents and the UK education system
- Engaging with Albanian speaking women
- Experience of volunteering amongst Albanian speaking community.
In everything we do, Shpresa Programme is loyal to this promise. We promote the safety and empowerment of women through workshops, classes and support groups which we run in partnership with brilliant and effective organizations like Manor Gardens and Total Family Coaching.
Shpresa provides the safe space and opportunity for women to learn about domestic violence and to know where and how to seek help. We work closely with Solace Women’s Aid and IKROW on our training programmes and through referrals. We also provide training for our partner organisations, so that they know how to best support victims of trafficking and domestic violence. Equally, we help and enable our young people through classes on mental health and building healthy relationships.
We have strong partnerships with both UK and Albanian organisations and understand domestic violence within the cultural context. Our dedicated team works tirelessly to maximise support for victims of domestic violence through our training and campaigns. And further to that, through English classes and skills training in employability, leadership and advocacy, we encourage these women to become strong and empowered – future entrepreneurs, professionals and skilful mothers.
Mentoring and social entrepreneurs
Equipping people for future success is at the very heart of Shpresa; recognising and encouraging every individual’s strengths and possibilities is who we are and what we do. The fact that Shpresa staff were all at one time service users, and then volunteers, gives current users and volunteers a very powerful employment role model.
Shpresa Programme is no one thing – we are an effective networking platform, a launch pad to both an education and a career, and a warm and welcoming home! Through 1-2-1 and group support, we enable our staff, volunteers, users and partners to be the best they can be. Mentoring can come in many different forms and is often tailored to suit a particular need, so please get in touch if you are interested to know more. You may wish to set up your own local community group, parenting group, or even your own company or organisation!
We are committed to giving you your best chance – whether you’re a young person, a single mother, a woman seeking confidential advice, an individual needing mental health support, a volunteer, or simply someone who wants to learn, connect with their community and have fun along the way. Whoever you are, and whatever your hopes and dreams, everyone is welcome at Shpresa.
We recognise education as the first step towards success and its importance is therefore embedded into Shpresa’s purpose and promise.
To empower and enable the Albanian-speaking community in the UK, we offer a range of options: classes, training, workshops, accredited programmes and more. One example of this is our successful English Classes for Adults series, which covers a broad range: English for Parents, English for Refugees, English for Work etc.
At Shpresa, we are committed to equipping all service users with a set of transferable skills that demonstrate a willingness to learn and develop, and a commitment to hard work. Skills that are invaluable when seeking opportunities for further education or paid employment. Further training is also available for those who wish to expand their skill set or have ambitions for personal development – these range from IT classes to parenting classes and storytelling sessions.
“Shpresa was my light at the end of the tunnel. In the beginning I had no confidence. I had no expectations. It was such a different system to back home. With Shpresa I learnt that I could fulfill my dreams. If there had not been a Shpresa, I would have been stuck. Their practical help was so important. I now help other people to follow their dreams.”
“Where would I be without Shpresa? They are my medicine. I got lost in the UK. It was so different. There were excellent professionals, but they did not understand me. One hour with Shpresa was like 6 months with them. The staff team had empathy with me, stressed the importance of doing things together and encouraged me to do new things.”
“Schools would just not give me a chance as a teaching assistant volunteer. Shpresa used their experience to get a placement in school and they helped with the CRB checks. I have now done Level 3 training and I now aspire to get a job. Shpresa got me this employment opportunity. I had the benefit of a reference from them and they helped me to get the necessary experience.”
“Back home we have very close communities. When we arrived in the UK we knew no one. We had no contacts for the Albanian community in the UK. We were isolated. Shpresa brought people together – a place to belong to help us to break the isolation.”