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Daughters of Eagles

Since its establishment in 1912, the London-based Anglo-Albanian Association has been a guiding light for Albanian culture in the UK. While Albanian migrants have made their mark throughout these islands, the Anglo-Albanian Association has had no equivalent in Wales.

Until now.

Albanian women have become loved and respected community leaders in Swansea. During the winter of 2022/23 in particular, Nazife and Dea Asllani, Raymonda and Eva Gjoka, Shahe Jaku and Drita Quini became familiar faces at local events. When the People’s Library organised “winter warmers” sessions between November 2022 and February 2023, offering a warm space and hot food and drinks to local residents at a time when many were struggling to pay their heating bills, these ladies stepped up to help. Many people who attended the sessions were elderly and vulnerable, and in need of a reassuring welcome. As volunteer hosts, Shahe and Drita, Raymonda and Eva and Nazife and Dea made sure they received one. That personal warmth was just as much of a factor in the success of the events as the physical warmth of the surroundings. If the people of Swansea needed a reminder of the value of good neighbours, the women who had travelled two thousand kilometres from their native country to ours delivered it.

In 2023 they are taking a further step forward by forming the Welsh Albanian Association.

The association will give Wales’s new arrivals from Albania a helpful welcome to the country, offering important information on transport, amenities and local community groups and activities. The society will enable integration, encouraging Albanian families to make a contribution to their new home and truly become a part of the city in the same way that its founders have.

As with so many community initiatives, this project has the support of Carolyn Harris, our local Member of Parliament. We’re grateful for Carolyn’s backing and we never take it for granted. Her kindness towards her constituents at a People’s Library event over the Coronation Bank Holiday weekend was typical and impactful. To quote Nazife Asllani, seen here at Carolyn’s side:

“I am so grateful for the welcome my family has received in Swansea, and knowing that I am represented by a person who cares so much about her constituents gives me a feeling of pride. I want everyone who comes to Wales to have this same pride and look forward to making that happen through our new association.”

Among the names Albanians call their country and themselves are Shqipëria and Shqiptarë, which translate as "Land of Eagles" and "Children of Eagles". The daughters of eagles who have made such a positive impact on Swansea are not only spreading their own wings; they are determined to help others fly too. Thank you, ladies.


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