Malta Football Association
New five-a-side football pitch at AWAS funded by the IOC
Jul 15, 2016
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A new five-a-side synthetic football pitch was inaugurated 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 will be provided by the Malta Football Association on a weekly basis to residents. 


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 activity and determination in individuals. 


Minister Abela, spoke about the work carried out by AWAS to improve the quality of services provided to beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers currently amounting 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 the Marsa Open Centre to be operated by Jobs 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. He also thanked the Malta Football Association for training services and AWAS employees for the dedication shown in their work. 

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