Jul 10, 2019

Mia Hassani, Chameria

Get to know Mia, a devoted women's rights activist from Chameria.

Who is Mia Hassani?

Mia is an activist from the Cham ethnic minority of Albania. She has a degree in medicine and is currently the head of the Cham women’s rights forum promoting the rights and interests of the women of her community.

What is the Cham issue?

Chameria was historically a part of Albania until 1944 when the Greek state expelled the Albanian population of Chameria from their homeland by the use of force. Mia believes that the gravest atrocities during this period were committed against women and children. Cham people today seek the right to return to their indigenous lands and the restoration of their property. Mia deplores the expulsion of the Chams from their homeland, the violation of their fundamental human rights, and the erosion of the principles of democracy.

What motivated Mia to become an activist?

Mia says that it was the violent past of her people and the extreme gender inequality in her country that inspired her to become an activist. She is driven by the desire to bring change and peace in order to ensure that what happened to her people does not happen to anyone else in the world.

What is the situation of Cham women?

According to Mia, women face a lot of discrimination in her society and are subject to extreme inequality. The underlying issue is their lack of independence and the patriarchal family system. Women are mainly dependent on their husbands because they do not work or have a social life of their own outside of their family. Therefore, men are given priority over women and women are not allowed to make their own decisions.

What are the main challenges Mia faces as a female activist?

Mia expresses that the main challenge in promoting women’s rights is combatting the deep rooted fears and insecurities of the women of her community. The fear of raising their voices, the fear of doing something different, and the fear of bringing a wind of change. As the head of the women’s forum, she believes her main purpose is to give women self-confidence to overcome these fears and have their voices heard.

What does Mia wish for the women of Chameria?

Mia believes that women must be involved in politics because they can play a leading role in the development of a state and peacebuilding process. According to her, three key elements must be ensured to secure gender equality: independence, empowerment and self-determination. Women must believe in themselves to take control of their lives and find their right place in society. “A stand taken for women rights is a stand taken for human rights”, she says.

One last word from Mia

“Empowerment of women is the key of development. Woman's rights are human rights.”


Watch our interview with Mia here!