Malta Migrant Befriending Programme

The Malta Migrant Befriending Programme (MMBP) aims to promote integration of asylum seekers and refugees into Maltese society. It will be accomplished by pairing asylum seekers/refugees, (referred to as befriendees), with long-term Maltese residents, (referred to as befrienders) during a number of group events developed and organised by the MMBP team.

This project is being funded through the Voluntary Organisation Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector.

As an organisation, Hal Far Outreach always looks at the needs of the migrant population that we work with. Therefore, before launching our project a needs assessment was carried out with the beneficiaries of our other projects. After analysing the responses we received from the beneficiaries we designed a new project in line with the beneficiaries’ needs. The official recruitment and training started once the project was launched in March 2022. Once a number of persons showed interest, training sessions were set and delivered by the facilitators of the programme.

The programme has had an extensive training schedule for all participants involved as well as for the volunteers and staff of the programme. This involved training on the concepts of boundaries and safeguarding and how best to account for these in a befriending programme. During the training the participants were asked about their motivations and goals to join the programme as well as their concerns. This was an opportunity for the participants to open up and for us to address any concerns they may have.

The initial plan was to pair a befriender with a befriendee at the start of the programme, however the team felt that it would be more useful to pair participants once the participants had met and developed a connection already. During the pairing process, pairing preferences of both parties were taken into consideration and after a few events, the first pairing was finally set to start. We will be following up with the pairs to ensure that the pairing is going smoothly and both parties are comfortable.

The main activities of the programme are the group activities that bring all the participants together to facilitate connections. Once the pairings take place, the pairs will then be placed together during group activities. Due to the low number of  COVID-19 cases up until now, all activities took place in person, and were not only well received, they were all a great success! The group events have created opportunities for the participants to come together to form friendships. It has proven beneficial for all to share their stories and cultures with one another. The group events have taken place all around Malta, and will continue as such, allowing the migrants to have new experiences with the rest of the group, while feeling a part of Maltese society. The group events have ranged from sports activities, to a clean-up, to workshops involving local artists and even cultural events.

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