MOAS in Malta update
As for many countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world, the first half of 2021 has been incredibly challenging. Despite hopes of an imminent return to normality, the pandemic has firmly persisted, and in the case of Malta, led to record COVID-19 cases and a second shutdown. The dangers of the virus and the restrictive imposed to mitigate them have fuelled a renewed need for preventative measures and online learning resources. Consequently, MOAS have been continually active over the past months through our facemask and education-focused projects as well as other activities in support of migrants and refugees on the island.
Donations and Deliveries
The second round of our MOAS Masks Malta project has continued with the delivery of over 2000 masks since the beginning of the year. The first delivery consisted of 1,600 masks for adults and 200 masks for children, which were delivered to the Maltese Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) at the end of January. Since the donation, these masks have been distributed by the agency to migrants across the island. This was followed by a delivery of over 400 masks to organisations that support communities in need in Malta, including Peace Lab, Osanna Pia and Emigrants Commission. Along with the provision of facemasks, the deliveries also included 1000 bottles of hand sanitizer which were donated The BioArte Ltd. As Malta has faced record coronavirus cases over the past few months, facilitating access to preventive measures such as hand sanitizer and masks has been critical. Consequently, we are incredibly thankful to our donors and volunteers that have made these deliveries possible. The latest stage of the mask project means that just under 3000 masks have been produced during the initiative’s second round, and nearly 10,000 masks have been delivered through the project since its inception.
In addition to vital COVID-19 protection, we have also sought to continue to provide children and adolescents in Malta’s migrants centre with gifts when possible. Building on our Christmas delivery, in February, we visited the Hal Far Migrant Open Centre to deliver a donation of sweets and gifts. This was then followed by our April delivery of Smarties houses among the unaccompanied minors and residents at Hal Far centre and the Disruption Peace Lab guests.
The recent months have also seen the continuation of the Remote Learning Project. In February, we delivered a further 3 tablets and modems to migrant families living in the HFO centre who were identified by AWAS. Considering that schools have faced further closures during 2021 and remote learning has once again been a primary method of schooling, enabling access to these resources is integral for migrant children and adolescents continuing their studies. We will continue to coordinate with AWAS on this project and distribute devices to families in need of them.
Throughout the second half of this year, we are hoping to further develop our education-focused initiatives. Building on the success of the remote learning project, MOAS is in the initial planning stages of establishing a multifunctional learning space at the Hangar Open Centre (HOC). MOAS would like this learning centre to be equipped with educational resources such as computers, books and other learning tools and be used by the centre’s residents for formal education, training activities such as language classes, quiet study, and essential tasks such as CV writing, job hunting and registering for online services.
We are well aware that the pandemic is not over and that the twists and turns that we have faced since its onset may continue. Masks are still essential and online learning is likely to be a key component of education going forward. MOAS will remain vigilante to the inequalities and challenges facing migrants and refugees in Malta, and we will continue to be passionate advocates for them and provide our support and resources whenever we can.
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