An update about MOAS VOPS’ activities in Malta

In March 2022, MOAS launched its new “Integration Through Education and Integration” project, funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme (VOPS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector. With this innovative project, MOAS aims to engage with stakeholders from voluntary organisations and the migrant community to coordinate activities, classes and information sessions. These will focus on fostering independence and collaboration amongst communities in Malta and cultivate wider integration. MOAS believes that better coordination among stakeholders and local activity leaders working with the same beneficiary community will also enhance the diversity and breadth of activities available, thus increasing impact by reducing duplication of services.

Our first activity…an art therapy session!

To celebrate Refugee Week 2022 and this year’s theme, ‘Healing’, MOAS organised an art therapy session for young refugees and asylum seekers residing in Malta. The session was held at Ronald McDonald’s House of Charities Centre in Qawra, in cooperation with the Japanese artist Miyuki Sugihara who kindly donated her time to teach watercolour techniques to a group of teenagers coming from Sudan, Vietnam, Guinea, Eritrea, Kurdistan, and Ukraine.

Each participant had the chance to express his/her feelings and ideas and to create a unique piece of art to bring home. 18 year old Sam*, from Eritrea, painted a candle for his mother who he described as the light of his life, while Mohammed painted the flag of his country, which he ‘misses every day’.  (*Name changed)

MOAS Co-founder and Director, Regina Catrambone said: “This first initiative was a great success, and more will follow as part of the project, to improve integration in Malta. We wish to thank the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector for the grant, our partner Ronald McDonald House for hosting the session on their premises, and the artist Miyuki Sugihara for her continuous support towards MOAS’ work. Voluntary organisations are an integral part of civil society and collaboration is vital for the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Through this project, we aim to strengthen the volunteer sector through capacity building, partnerships, and equality of opportunity”.

Our second activity…a sunset walk and sensory activity at Foresta 2000 nature reserve

With the aim of learning more about Malta’s nature and wildlife, MOAS organized a sunset walk and sensory activity at Foresta 2000 nature reserve in Mellieha. This activity was in partnership with the local non-governmental organization BirdLife Malta, the oldest environmental organisation in Malta committed to the protection of wild birds and their habitats. During the sunset walk and sensory activity, participants coming from different communities residing in Malta had the opportunity to learn about the different types of birds and plants present on the Island and, luckily enough, also spot nesting wild birds!

It was great to work alongside another NGO whose work is so unique and important on the island, and to engage with different communities and find a peaceful and communal way to reflect on our wellbeing and mental health.

If you are interested in MOAS integration projects and activities in Malta or to get involved in our work, you can subscribe now to our Facebook group “MOAS Volunteer Hub” and find out about all the opportunities on the Island.

Final thoughts

Every day our needs shift and, at MOAS, we try to make sure that we have the adaptability and flexibility to meet those needs, so that we may help long-term integration. In Malta, we will continue to expand our initiatives to support communities. Throughout the year we will organise more activities in Malta with this aim in mind.

If you are interested in the work of MOAS and our partners, please follow us on social media, sign up to our newsletter and share our content. You can also reach out to us any time via [email protected]. If you want to support our operations, please give what you can at www.moas.eu/donate/