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“Over 20 years making Britain home” Citizens UK stand with our Albanian neighbours

Lediana quote card - Albanian Independence Day

Luljeta Nuzi, Lediana Pajaj and Flutra Shega are community leaders for Shpresa Programme, a charity and core member of Citizens UK’s founding Chapter, East London Citizens. Together, they support Albanian-speaking refugees and migrants in the UK to build community and campaign for change.

We sat down to speak with them ahead of this year’s Albanian Independence Day – a moment they are marking through both celebration and action.

Celebrating success

Over two decades, Shpresa have developed thousands of leaders who have at times felt excluded from British society but now call the UK home. Shpresa has been there throughout many of Citizens UK’s long-standing campaigns. From championing the Living Wage and ensuring a People’s Olympic Legacy, to campaigning for affordable housing and Settled Status for undocumented people who have put down roots. Their tireless organising has been at the heart of seismic wins – from ending child detention laws to enabling the opening of bank accounts by asylum seekers, removing financial barriers for families to apply for their children’s British Citizenship, and much more.

Today, Shpresa’s leaders continue campaigning on issues including mental health, supporting vulnerable young people and introducing an Albanian language GCSE qualification. Their achievements cannot be overstated and should inspire us all.


Quote reads: "Just showing how much we care and by trying to do our very best, hopefully the message will come clear, that this is our home too." Flutra Shega - Shpresa Programme


Leaders from Shpresa Programme campaign for Albanian language GCSE
Albanian community leaders campaigned for a People's Olympic Legacy
Shpresa Programme campaigns for better mental health services and safe temporary accommodation for survivors of domestic violence
Albanian leaders from Newham have supported the Settle Our Status campaign
A community leader from Shpresa speaking at Newham Citizens' 2022 Delegates Assembly
Leaders with Steven Timms MP at Citizens UK's national Living Wage for Social Care action in Parliament Square

Taking a stand

Even when issues weren’t the top priority for Shpresa's communities, they organised to build a more just society for all. This is just one reason why increasingly dehumanising language in the media and by politicians in recent weeks has felt especially painful for Albanian people, with the already hostile and racist UK debate on migration needlessly turning on yet another community.


This Albanian Independence Day, Shpresa and other Citizens UK member institutions are taking action to make a stand against this hateful rhetoric. Hear from leaders in their own words on why solidarity with our Albanian neighbours matters now more than ever.


Quote card: Now is the time where you can help Shpresa. Just by sharing your positive experiences with the Albanian community, that could be the biggest support. When we have social media campaigns, please share your story, share your journey and be with us in spirit - Luljeta Nuzi - Shpresa Programme


Hear from Luljeta, Lediana and Flutra

  • Luljeta Nuzi reflects on taking a stand this Albanian Independence Day

    Albanian community leaders have campaigned with Citizens UK for two decades, winning change on issues from the Living Wage to ending the detention of refugee children. For Albanian Independence Day, and in the wake of dehumanising and racist rhetoric in the media and by politicians like Suella Braverman, we sat down with some of these leaders from Shpresa Programme. They reflect on how our Albanian neighbours have been making Britain home for over two decades, and why solidarity is needed now more than ever.

    Read more
  • Lediana Pajaj reflects on how Albanian neighbours have made Britain home

    Albanian community leaders have campaigned with Citizens UK for two decades, winning change on issues from the Living Wage to ending the detention of refugee children. For Albanian Independence Day, and in the wake of dehumanising and racist rhetoric in the media and by politicians like Suella Braverman, we sat down with some of these leaders from Shpresa Programme. They reflect on how our Albanian neighbours have been making Britain home for over two decades, and why solidarity is needed now more than ever.

    Read more
  • Flutra Shega reflects on two decades of Albanian leaders organising with Citizens UK

    Albanian community leaders have campaigned with Citizens UK for two decades, winning change on issues from the Living Wage to ending the detention of refugee children. For Albanian Independence Day, and in the wake of dehumanising and racist rhetoric in the media and by politicians like Suella Braverman, we sat down with some of these leaders from Shpresa Programme. They reflect on how our Albanian neighbours have been making Britain home for over two decades, and why solidarity is needed now more than ever.

    Read more

Support Shpresa

#WalkWithLuli is a fundraising campaign set up to support Shpresa following the devastating news of Luljeta’s terminal illness. Money raised will build on her incredible legacy by securing the dream of a home for the Albanian community.

Share your support online

If you and your institution stand with our Albanian neighbours, be a part of fighting back against harmful rhetoric by posting on social media in solidarity.

Click the button below to send our pre-written tweet, or write your own using the following messages and hashtags.

“We stand with our Albanian neighbours.”  (English)
“Ne mbështesim fqinjët tanë shqiptar.” (Albanian)

#AlbanianNeighbours
#20YearsofShpresa

Posted by Sylvie Pope on 28 Nov, 2022

Category
Pass the Mic