Smiling in English is a project of Organisation for Friendship in Diversity (OFD) supporting the cultural and social integration of asylum seekers and refugees in Malta. Promoting sustainable solutions based on solidarity and cultural exchanges, we are delivering language classes and creative activities in the living environment and in daily life of people living in Open Centre on a voluntary basis.
Each year, thousands of migrants from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, or Ethiopia, fleeing from countries in turmoil, have come to Malta fearing for their lives. As a result of its geographic position at the crossroad of the Mediterranean the Maltese island has received a steady influx of migrants.
Most of them have to live in an open centre with a very uncertain future. During this long hard step we try to equip them with the necessary skills to enable them to better integrate into society; Most of them, infact, have not had the opportunity to go to school, experience serious language barriers and are faced with many obstacles when attempting to integrate into a new society and have an active lifestyle.
Our objective is help migrants and refugees through the development of activities which offer moral support in the daily lives of migrants and in their living environment through the creation of the “Smiling in English” project on a voluntary basis.
We currently organize our English conversations by teams of 4-5 volunteers. These courses are innovative and creative, separate tables are for different levels. Each volunteer chooses his own way of teaching, by using available tools (picture books, maps, dictionaries, English student books, whiteboards, newspapers…) or simply in making conversation.
Our long term goal is facilitate the empowerment and integration of migrants into the European society and spread the raising awareness about the conditions of migrants to the Maltese society and to foreign volunteers.
Indeed, since April 2013, the project received about 50 volunteers presenting a very multicultural profile of 18 different nationalites.