In Albania, one of the poorest countries in the European Union, women are the most affected by unemployment and poverty, especially in rural areas. In the village of Guri I Zi, the majority of women have a very low level of schooling and live in homes without water and electricity. Often they have to support numerous families (of at least 5 people) and some of them are victims of domestic violence.
In 2006, the Idea Migranti Onlus association together with a local partner initiated the project of micro-entrepreneurship textile Guri I Zi with the goal of generating income from traditional weaving activities for some particularly vulnerable village women.
The lab has expanded over the years by producing high quality tableware and home textiles, resold in Italy at the one-brand boutique at the La Rinascente department store in Milan.
Currently, 70 vulnerable women are employed in the lab. For most of them, this activity is the only source of family income, so the project is having a positive impact on some 350 people in the village.
In 2016, this activity has become a true social enterprise that now aims to consolidate and expand the Italian market to ensure full economic sustainability and to include other women. To do so the aim in 2017 is the technical training of women to reach the ever-increasing quality standards required by the Italian market and the introduction of new lines and product types by fashion designer Alessandra Dentice of Frasso following collections since 2011.
The Marcegaglia Foundation has chosen to support this project in this new phase by supporting the continuing technical training of the 70 women employed by 2017 by the Head of Laboratory and the Quality Control Officer coordinated by the local project manager.