UNHCR Malta takes a look at some of the ways in which World Refugee Day 2021 was marked locally, in what is an inspiring display of solidarity and awareness-raising despite the ongoing restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overcoming the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, several individuals and organisations shored up their resources to create awareness-raising content for World Refugee Day 2021 – marked each year on 20 June. Here are some of the inspiring Malta-based initiatives organized on the occasion of World Refugee Day 2021.
The African Media Association, Malta organized a series of interesting video conversations with refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants who live and work in Malta, called Success Stories among Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Malta. Created in collaboration with local newspapers L-Orizzont and It-Torca, and the US Embassy in Malta, the first video in the series focused on Precious Atigolo, a young woman from Nigeria who got a chance to pursue her dream of working as an elderly health care worker after she arrived to Malta. She now lives in Marsascala with her six-month old baby.
‘People of Malta’, a Facebook page with a huge following which celebrates local people from all walks of life, featured the story of Nicky, a Nigerian woman who arrived in Malta in 1998. She sought asylum in Malta and became a refugee, then eventually a Maltese citizen. Her story reflects the feeling of unknown that many refugees face on their arrival in a new land: “You never really know the risks of going through this journey. I was only 17 and I didn’t know anyone who had done this journey before. So no one told me of the risks, everything was new to me. We ended up in Malta, which was not with my choice. I only wanted to leave my country to start a new life.”
Despite the struggles faced by Nicky over the years, she now owns her own business and has a strong connection with the community: “I feel I am in a good place now. Here I have family and a lot of friends who I consider family. They know me, the good and the bad. I received a lot of love and help and I can say that most of my wishes in life have come true.”
Local singer-songwriter Nick Morales has unveiled his latest track right on the occasion of World Refugee Day – an appropriate time to release ‘People of the Sea’, which takes inspiration from the frequent and often perilous journeys across the Mediterranean undertaken by many fleeing violence and persecution.
Watch the video for the song here: