Thirty-six young people from Romania and Italy will be visiting the juvenile centre in Mtaħleb on Tuesday to discuss the theme of freedom.

Aged between 16 and 24, they are here on a week-long exchange programme organised by the Youth Catholic Action.

“The idea is to discuss the restrictions youths are facing, their dreams and what their future holds,” the movement’s general secretary, Sarah Caruana, said.

“The word freedom has many connotations, not just physical freedom of movement. We wanted to explore what freedom means to young people today.”

The exchange programme is aimed at encouraging young people to be pro-active in helping others. Entitled Dare to Dream, it will consist of several workshops aimed at exploring the limitations of freedom.

Important for young people today not to remain passive

“We asked and explored how young people can be pro-active in helping situations where people’s freedom is limited,” Ms Caruana said, adding it was important for young people today not to remain passive.

Participants in the youth exchange would also be discussing migration and human rights, Ms Caruana added.

“We would like to highlight the fact that everyone is living in different situations and does not enjoy the same rights we do,” she remarked.

She also pointed out that all the three countries in the programme were facing their own challenges with migration.

This summer, Malta and Italy have been at loggerheads on various occasions over which of them should assume responsibility for migrants rescued in the Mediterranean or those in distress. Romania, on the other hand, faced challenges with migration from the eastern European bloc, Ms Caruana noted.

“We wanted them to become aware of the challenges each country is facing,” she said.

“We also wanted them to be informed of the challenges that migrants face,” Ms Caruana added, pointing out that freedom of movement was something many youth could take for granted.

“Through such experiences, they can form meaningful friendships, share ideas and strengthen their motivation to continue their work with other young people,” Ms Caruana said.

The young visitors will also be taking part in several cultural activities, when they will be learning about the country’s history and experiencing different aspects of the island’s culture and traditions.


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