New five-a-side football pitch at AWAS funded by International Olympic Committee

Friday, July 15, 2016, 16:24

Gavin Muscat

A new five-a-side synthetic football pitch was inagurated at Marsa Open Centre for residents of the six centres operated by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, following the awarding of €41,400 in funding to AWAS by the International Olympic Committee Emergency Fund. A football training programme by the Malta Football Association will be provided to residents on a weekly basis.

In his opening address, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela commended this first collaboration between the parties involved to bring about positive change through sports. He referred to the benefits provided by sports both physical and psychological and acknowledged that this initiative will serve as another step forward in the challenge of AWAS to foster actvity and determination in individuals.

Hon. Abela, spoke about the work carried out by AWAS to improve the quality of services provided to beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers which currently amount to 557 members coming from 36 different nationalities with most residents originating from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia and Syria.

He noted that AWAS works to provide individual care plans according to individual needs in fields such as education, health and employment. In the last three years, AWAS has recruited almost 40 new employees mainly support workers, welfare officers and other support staff with the aim of assisting residents to become more independent individuals.

In 2015, 130 open centre residents participated in information sessions on topics including housing, budgeting, hygiene, employment skills and language learning through an EU funded project.

“Integration in the labour market could be seen as the most pressing issue for residents to take back control of their lives” remarked Minister Abela. He said that the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security is currently supporting the Ministry for Education and Employment to open a new job recruitment office at Marsa Open Centre to be operated by Job Plus.

Minister Abela expressed words of gratitude towards the Malta Olympic Committee for guiding the Agency to submit an application to the International Olympic Committee  for the funding of this project. Similarly, he thanked, Malta Football Association for their training services and AWAS employees for the dedication shown in their work.





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