Albania: "St. Joseph the Worker", a school for integral human development

Albania: "St. Joseph the Worker", a school for integral human development

St. Joseph the Worker Vocational School ("Shën Jozefi Punëtor") of the Diocese of Rrëshen, in the Mirdita region of Albania, offers students a high-level course of study that enables the integral human development of the person and society.  

The Institute, whose president is the Bishop of Rrëshen, Monsignor Gjergj Meta, has been operational since September 2004 and was built by the then Bishop of Rrëshen, Monsignor Cristoforo Palmieri, who then entrusted it to the management of the Somaschi Fathers.  

Mirdita is located in the north of the country, a poor and isolated area, where there are no industries and very often a mere subsistence economy prevails. As Fr. Michele Leovino CRS, director of the St. Joseph the Worker School project, explains, "From Mirdita you can only leave, move away. There is no reason to move to Mirdita if you don’t have roots there." 

For this reason, the training project offered "is a counterpoint to the phenomenon of local petty crime and youth emigration; a valuable opportunity for socio-cultural training in a highly individualistic context and a strong stimulus to live the school as a place of human and professional training in which the implementation of youth entrepreneurial experiences is also encouraged, through dedicated start-ups."

During the study, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, and computer, social, and hotel workers are trained. In 2012, the school was recognized as a para-university, equated with state schools, thus allowing nationally recognized degrees to be awarded.   

In addition, this project is a great opportunity for the entire area because, as Fr. Michele points out, "it has brought an induced activity that goes far beyond the employees of the school and the boarding school. Around the institute, investments have been made in transportation, to move more than 200 pupils every day, in small establishments, first of all, the grocery store and the bar, and in small hotels to accommodate the school's foreign partners."   

The institute offers about 60 students the opportunity to reside in the boarding school and 12 girls to live in the girls' boarding school, run in cooperation with the religious community of the "Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul." In all, about 80 girls are attending St. Joseph School, a considerable figure for the social context in which it stands.  

12 March 2024