Aricle by Joanna Demarco
When it comes to integrating within Maltese communities, research finds that migrant women feel that they are ….… Migrant Women Association Malta feels that when it comes to the presence of the NGO and its cause within the local scene there is a “big welcome” from the Maltese community. “The idea of a group of women working on this issue, is an idea which is welcome here in Malta, from other NGOs, from the government and even from locals,” said Ms Elamin Amer. However, when it comes to the integration of migrant women within the Maltese community, it is not the same situation and struggles are still met.
In order to help improve the situation, Migrant Women Association Malta, together with The National Council for Women, yesterday launched a ‘Communication Sessions’ project, an initiative which is funded by the US Embassy and kicking off in March.
The project will offer free English lessons to migrant women. The English lessons are one of the projects by the NGO related to education and integration. Lessons and activities will run once a week, initially between March and September. The sessions will include the expertise of cultural mediators, hoping to help overcome language and cultural barriers for people who speak Arabic, Eritrean and Somalian amongst others.
The idea of the project is to improve the conversation skills of migrant women, in order to encourage self-esteem and empowerment, and ultimately to help them integrate and communicate within the Maltese community.
President of the National Council for Women, Mary Gaerty applauded the initiative, believing that integration and inclusion will start with knowing the language. “If there is no communication then you feel a bit isolated,” she said.
During the launch of the project, Joan Flynn, a representative from the US embassy, insisted that “an education, particularly English language education, builds the foundation for opportunities for further education and for employment, it is key to integration”.