Leader of the Barking council Darren Rodwell with a traditional Albanian hat among Albanian activists of the Shpresa Porgramme

Leader of the Barking council, Darren Rodwell with a traditional Albanian hat, among Albanian activists of the Shpresa Porgramme.

The Albanian flag was raised from Barking town hall for the first time to celebrate the country’s independence day.

Albanian ambassador Mal Berisha and Kosovan ambassador Lirim Greiçevci joined with the leader of the council Darren Rodwell and local Albanians to mark the historic occasion on Friday.

Festivities held on the day included the Proud to be Albanian British exhibition, featuring photographs taken by youngsters, and an employment fair.

The Shpresa programme, which helps Albanian asylum-seekers to fit into British society, held its AGM where it was decided that it will widen its offer to help people from other communities.

People who have been assisted by the programme spoke movingly about their experiences.

Luljeta Nuzi, the Shpresa programme’s project director, said: “Getting the recognition of the Albanian flag being raised was really special for the whole community.

“It is really important culturally and historically for everyone to celebrate its independence.”

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