“Roots of Education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”

The logo of the training session

On the 13th of December 2016 was held a free training session about education, employment, and integration of migrants in the Maltese society. The workshop was organised by the pilot project Migrants Skills Register, which works as a Job agency that help migrants to find jobs that match their unused skills. It took place at “Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector” 181, Melita Street, Valletta.
The training title was “Roots of Education are bitter but the fruit is sweet”. The Trainer, Vanja Vajagic, is the Project Coordinator of Peace and Good Foundation Malta. She is a “Special Education Therapist, Addictions Specialist”, whose goal is to help migrants keep away from addictions like drugs and alcoholism.

Around 40 people from the diverse African communities of asylum seekers attended the session. Many of them, eager to find a job that matches their skills, participated fully to the one and a half hour session held with brio by the trainer who opened the workshop by setting all the participants in a single large circle for a short seance of reciprocal shoulder massage. After that, she jumped on her feet and stood firmly, pressing them on the ground ( to take roots), exhaling deeply( getting out the anger and the worries). Attendees were then invited to get their seats for the beginning of the workshop.

A group of attendees in half-circle

The session was organised by the pilot project “Migrants skills Register”, which is an idea of David Millner, funder of African Media Association Malta. Migrants Skills Register was funded by the Small Initiative Support Scheme.

Education. Employment. Integration

Subtly, and very careful not to hurt any sensibility, the trainer exposed the urgency of speaking English, of dressing well, of avoiding conflict (don’t answer to hatred by hatred). She pointed out the fact that many African immigrants spend precious time sitting on open areas smoking etc…while they can positively use it to learn the language:

“Integration is possible only if you can interact with the society in which you live by going to school, speaking the language and trying to find a decent job.”

She spoke about the remittance, urged them to stop sending all the money they earn so painfully here back home and instead, use it to access education, learn a useful and valuable job, and thus be respected by both their community and their new land.

Vanja and Danielle on stage during the training session

Many immigrants objected, saying that it is quite impossible not to send money back home, because of the economic situation they left there. Abdi said:

“I have children and a wife back home, i have to provide some food for them.”

The trainer agreed that there are exceptions for any rule, but “the solution to that dilemma lays in the title of this session : roots of  Education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. You do not have anything without a sacrifice” she added.

Yes, it can be difficult, but…

She gave details of her own experience of immigrant from east of Europe, explained that she had to produce 84 documents over years to be able to practice in Malta. Some immigrants pointed out the fact that it is easier for whites than for blacks, the latters being systematically blocked just in base of their colour.

The trainer replied that it is the reason why education is so important. Education gives you self-confidence, self awareness of yourself and your value, and skills to be able to go through any kind of difficultly.

All the attendees have received a certificate of participation. Job seekers as well as employers are welcomed to register on the website of Migrants Skills Register.





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