Run for others

On Sunday 23rd February, a team of Jesuit priests and lay people called “Jesuits & Friends” pushed themselves through the kilometers of the Vodafone Malta Marathon in an attempt to raise funds for a project run by the Jesuit Refugee Service, which will offer vulnerable asylum seekers access to psychosocial and health-related support, the need for which comes as a result of the severe trauma of forced displacement.

The University Chaplain Fr Patrick Magro sj ran the full Marathon, 42 kilometers, while Jesuit Provincial Fr Paul Pace sj, St Aloysius’ College Rector Fr Jimmy Bartolo sj, Fr Mark Cachia sj (who works with JRS) and Italian Jesuit Marco Piaia sj, presently working at the University Chaplaincy, were accompanied by 20 friends and colleagues who participated in the 21 kilometer Half Marathon and the Walkathon.

The aim of the chosen project is that as many vulnerable persons as possible are identified and provided with the protection, assistance and/or service they require, in a timely manner, in detention and throughout their stay in Malta.

This project, called PATHS, builds on the lessons learnt in the JRS Malta Project to provide Sheltered Accommodation and Psychosocial Support implemented between June 2011 and December 2012, and targets the most vulnerable. It includes building the capacity of mainstream service providers to cater for the needs of an increasingly ethnically, racially and linguistically diverse population.

JRS Malta is proposing to achieve this goal through advocacy efforts aimed at pushing the authorities concerned to put in place a policy on integration, improve the vulnerability assessment procedure and strengthen the capacity of reception centres and mainstream agencies to provide a service.

In addition, JRS Malta will continue to provide psychosocial services including those of a social worker, nurse and psychologist to vulnerabe asylum seekers, with a view to ensuring that, as far as possible, all in need of services are able to obtain the care and support they require.

This service will focus primarily on asylum seekers in detention. It will also target asylum seekers in the community who require support in order to access mainstream services or who require services that for some reason cannot be provided by mainstream services. In these cases, support will be offered to mainstream service providers e.g. through the provision of information and sharing of resources, such as cultural mediators.

Donations can be made online at: Cheque donations made out to ‘Inservi - Maltese Jesuit Foundation’ may be sent to ‘Inservi’, Jesuit Provincial Office, 78 Marquis Scicluna Street, Naxxar NXR 2067. Alternatively, deposits may be made to Inservi’s BOV savings acct 400 218 987 85.

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