Spark 15, a Maltese NGO geared to empower young refugees and migrants to actively participate in achieving a more inclusive society, is being officially inaugurated by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca at San Anton Palace tomorrow.

“The common challenges we face as young refugees and migrants to fully integrate in Maltese society united us to work towards full integration with the community,” Spark 15 president Hourie Tafech said.

The name Spark 15 was coined because the NGO is made up of 15 refugee and migrant founding members aged 15 to 30, who are determined to prove that a small spark can trigger a big change.

“The biggest struggles we continuously face are racism, discrimination, lack of access to education, and difficulties in finding jobs, among many others. These are the issues we plan to target to ensure greater diversity,” Ms Tafech said.

“We are looking forward to helping young migrants achieve full access to their rights through dialogue,” she added.

The idea was born after following the UNHCR Global Youth Consultation in 2015. The refugee agency has since stepped in to offer capacity building support for the young refugee-led organisation, and has funded a video (watch above) highlighting the challenges they face.

The video features the founding members sharing their dreams, from the young girl who is a promising basketball player but has been banned from playing because of her hijab, to the youngster who is half Russian half Libyan who failed to land the job when he decided to use his Arab surname.

“UNHCR hopes that Spark 15 can continue to grow, promote and facilitate youth refugee protection and integration in Malta,” UNHCR public information assistant Sarah Mallia said.

Spark 15 has the support of the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 

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