MOAS IN MALTA
MOAS has been based in Malta since our inception in 2013 and have always been passionate advocates for migrants and refugees on the island. To this day, we continue to be active on migrant issues here in Malta and aim to provide our expertise and resources wherever possible. This year, in light of the additional challenges which vulnerable groups have been facing due to the global pandemic, MOAS has responded by launching two new projects.
HOME MADE MASK PROJECT
The first project we launched this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was our #MOASMasksMalta initiative where we called upon local tailors, seamstresses and any volunteers willing to help out, to make homemade face masks for vulnerable groups on the island.
We were blown away by the overwhelming response to this project and are so grateful for the outstanding generosity of all those who have reached out to us offering their time and support over the past few months. To date, we have already collected a total of 6610 masks from our volunteers which have been distributed to vulnerable groups across the island by organisations such as the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) and Foodbank Lifeline Foundation.
This project was also supported by local stakeholders including a local textile company, the Maltese taxi provider eCabs as well as the brilliant fashion designer and couturier Luke Azzopardi who kindly created a YouTube tutorial on how to make MOAS masks for our team of volunteers. The support of the community has been what has made this project so special in asserting such a powerful message of solidarity during this challenging time when so many people are experiencing extreme hardships due to restrictions on movement and employment opportunities.
Moreover, the masks made by our team of over 100 volunteers are now more vital than ever because, as lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted here in Malta, face masks are a legal requirement on all public transport and in stores so it is vital that everyone has access to a reusable mask.
TABLETS & MODEMS
Earlier this month MOAS also launched another project to support migrant families through a remote learning project in response to concerns over migrant student’s abilities to access online educational facilities during lockdown. MOAS has, thus far, distributed 21 tablets and modems with internet connections to migrant families on the island in order to help vulnerable students access a remote online education.
Most schools are continuing to use online learning platforms however, for the children living within the three open centres across Malta this is not an option as they do not have access to laptops or an adequate internet connection. As a result, many migrant children are going without an education which is proving to be another challenge for these, already marginalized, children who now face further inequality in the quality and access to education available to them.
Therefore, as many migrant families have struggled to gain access to the educational facilities provided online by various institutions, MOAS felt compelled to address this gap in resources in order to ensure that all children have an access to the right to an education regardless of their asylum status.
The families, which were identified by AWAS, were delighted to now be able to continue their education within the confines of the social distancing restrictions and we are looking forward to distributing the final 19 tablets and modems to the remaining vulnerable migrant families on the island. Furthermore, as we want the students to get the most out of these devices MOAS will also be providing those who need it with technical support on how to use the tablets and the online remote learning programmes available.
The past months in lockdown have been a challenge for many of us as we have had to learn to adapt to new routines and circumstances. However, this has been amplified for those inside detention centres who have already had to adapt so much and face adversity in their migration journeys. By supporting vulnerable migrant communities in Malta we hope to help promote better integration and continue to show solidarity at a time when there has, sadly, been so much hostility against marginalised communities.
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