Bijte e Shqipes
Organizatë Shqiptare në Philadelphia
(Albanian Organization in Philadelphia)
For the past 14 years, the Bijte e Shqipes Association has worked out of a building at Harbison and Torresdale Avenues. The location serves its 400 members and includes a school for 60 students who go there on Sundays to learn about their heritage. But there are about 32,000 Albanians in the Philadelphia area, and the numbers are growing by about 1,000 annually, the group estimates. The expanding organization needs a place with room to grow.
"There is a large influx of Albanian immigrants into Philadelphia, and we are hoping that the LDA will offer us the room needed to grow over the next 20 to 50 years," Tajar Domi, president of the Albanian group and a substitute teacher in the Philadelphia school system.
The Northeast, Port Richmond, Fishtown, and the nearby suburban counties have become a popular settling place for Albanians, so when the organization learned about the availability of the Lower Dublin Academy, they acted. Its location just off I-95 yet set back from Academy Road and surrounded by trees seemed ideal.
The building’s story was also very appealing. “Every community is proud of its history and culture,” said Domi. “We Albanians are proud, too, of our history,” and when they learned they could purchase the Lower Dublin Academy, “we were prouder because this building has a lot of history of Philadelphia.”
Note: The above information came from a 2018 Plan Philly article.
In The News
- A NE Philly school designed by a friend of Ben Franklin to be reborn as Albanian cultural center, Plan Philly, October 9, 2018.