Language Classes for Migrant/Asylum Seeker Women in Malta

Between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016 JRS Malta is implementing a project with refugee and migrant women, Improving Care and Protection for Female Migrants and Asylum Seekers arriving in Malta, funded by the Fund for Women, which focuses on provision of services and empowerment for advocacy. The women served through this project all applied for asylum in Malta; the majority are Sub-Saharan Africans who arrived in Malta by boat within the past 2-3 years, while others, mostly Libyans and Syrians, arrived in Malta through other means in search of protection.

Few of the women arriving in Malta speak English (or Maltese) and many have had little or no formal education. One of the objectives of this project is to set up a Women’s Advocacy and Mobilisation Group, made up of 10-20 women, who are trained and empowered to advocate more effectively and to raise awareness of their needs and of the particular difficulties they face, by bringing their experiences and concerns to the attention of policy makers.  

It is our hope that, through this project, both the women’s needs and the challenges they face in their ‘journey to belonging’ will be better understood and more adequately addressed by Government policies. The project includes a training component focusing on basic communication and messaging skills, community building, and advocacy skills. 

The Language Classes for Migrant/Asylum Seeker Women in Malta which are being funded by JRS USA supplement the training provided through the provision of language classes. It should be noted that in Malta support for integration overall is very limited and language training is not provided systematically. As a result many migrants, particularly women, remain marginalised and find it very difficult to achieve independence and self-sufficiency, as it is hard to access the labour market if you cannot communicate in English or Maltese. This places them at greater risk of poverty and makes them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

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