Malta 35.891 / 14.493

Kopin is a partner in the project and has been involved since its development in 2016. For a number of years, Kopin has provided various services and activities with the aim of contributing positively to the integration and inclusion of migrants, and in particular asylum seekers and refugees, in Malta and Europe. By joining Snapshots, we hoped that the project would help further achieve this goal, particularly in Marsa and other Maltese cities, where migration has generally been seen as a challenge, rather than an opportunity,” says Dominik Kalweit, Deputy Executive Director of Kopin.

Kopin is a Maltese non-profit organization that, for the past 20 years, has worked on issues of social justice, sustainable development, and human and children’s rights. The association is made up of a dynamic group of diverse people who are united in their vision of an equitable, diverse and sustainable society, where everyone is empowered to care for our planet and its people,” says Dominik. “It includes a board of six people, currently five staff members, as well as volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise to our work and mission. We engage in three related fields and their intersections: support for refugees and other migrants; sustainable community development projects in Kenya and Ethiopia; and global education. In principle, our activities include elements of skills development through an active and participatory learning process that is based on facts, discussions, and action learning methodologies. Our work is based on needs assessments, policy analysis, and research. When possible, we help develop or join networks of national and international stakeholders for joint engagement. We are guided by a set of ethical standards and policies, such as Kopin’s child protection policy and our code of conduct on images and messages.”

A reality that is committed both on the territory and in the contexts of origin of migratory flows. What could joining the SnapShots project have brought to Kopin?

“Engaging with community members in Marsa was certainly one of the most interesting Snapshots moments for us. It allowed us to get a nuanced perspective on the opportunities and challenges of migrant integration, from people who are affected by it in one way or another,” says Dominik. “We heard stories of hope that were not only unexpected, but also very encouraging, given the tendency in political and media discourse to portray asylum seekers and refugees as a ‘burden’ to the host society.

As far as the pillars of this project are concerned – solidarity, memory, networking among the territories of Europe – how would you describe Marsa in particular and Malta in general?

“From a political point of view, the Euro-Mediterranean region leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to solidarity, memory and migration networking – Dominik answers – We join many organizations in harshly criticizing political leaders, particularly in Europe, and demanding from them the safeguarding of the basic human rights of asylum seekers. On the other hand, civil society organizations fighting for the respect of human rights on both sides of the Mediterranean basin, i.e. Maghreb/Mashreq and Europe, have made great efforts to contribute to solidarity, remembrance and networking. More should be done to promote collaboration between civil society organizations from the North and South of the Mediterranean.”

In this sense, has the SnapShots project been helpful? “This project has definitely helped kick-start a different conversation about migration in Marsa in particular and Malta in general,” Dominik explains. “The project brought together different stakeholders to start working on a dialogue model that would help prevent or solve community issues related to cultural diversity and migration. In addition, the project provided a platform to build stronger relationships between Kopin and the Marsa Local Council, who are the Maltese partners in the project, to work together in addressing opportunities and challenges related to migration. This could serve as an example of good practice for other communities in Malta, and perhaps elsewhere. With respect to what could have gone better, however, community engagement, namely refugee outreach and dialogue with both migrants and Maltese residents, seems to have the greatest impact when it comes to addressing migration challenges. It would have been beneficial for us to maintain, and possibly expand, our capacity in this regard within Snapshots. However, Kopin has mobilized other resources to continue its work in this area.”

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