Interview with Richmond Foundation: impact of Covid-19 on mental health

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! I hope everyone is staying safe and preparing for the winter! On 10 September we celebrated Mental Health Day, so this week I am sharing an interview about the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.

At aditus foundation, we saw a lot of our clients being seriously affected from this pandemic due to their vulnerabilities. We also had clients who, like most of us, found it hard to cope with quarantine and isolation.  As stated in this article, the UN Refugee Agency is warning that Covid-19  is having a huge impact on the mental health of refugees, displaced and stateless people. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said:

COVID-19 is not just a physical health crisis but it is now also triggering a mental health crisis. While many refugees and internally displaced people are remarkably resilient and are able to move forward despite having experienced violence or persecution first-hand, their capacities to cope are now being stretched to the limit.

UNHCR

For this week’s blogpost, I interviewed Richmond Foundation. Richmond Foundation is one of Malta’s more prominent NGOs with whom we have an excellent working relationship. We’ve listed it as a supporting organisation for refugees and migrant ssince the organisation often provides them with needed psychological support. As stated on its website, Richmond Foundation offers a wide range of support to anyone experiencing mental health problems and to the people who live and work with them.



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My experience as a Human Rights Intern with aditus foundation

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

It’s November already and 2020 is almost over, so is my internship.  I still remember sending my CV and being interviewed by aditus back in February of this year.  The feeling of excitement accompanied by concern that I had regarding whether they will let me in the aditus family and accept me as a human rights intern. Also, whether they would see me suitable for such an internship. Lucky Rimaz, they did, and here I am reaching the end of this amazing full-of-experience as a Human Rights Intern with aditus foundation!

I still remember the first week of the internship: it’s called reading week, where I read about aditus’ previous and current projects. It was in that week where I realized that I am in the right place for human rights. I remember facing challenges in understanding some projects, but that was the aim behind reading week: to read, observe and ask whenever in doubt. Also, by reading up about previous projects, I have built up an idea on how aditus works and the type of projects that I feel keen on being involved in, if possible.

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A human rights internship with aditus foundation!

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! This week I will update you on my experiences as a Human Rights Intern with aditus foundation.  As a lot of you may know, Rimaz and I applied for this human rights internship back in January. This is my journey and experience from the beginning till now.

In January aditus foundation posted the advert for this internship on their website and their social media pages. I was hesitant at first on whether I should apply. They were looking for someone who was committed to human rights and also a member of a marginalised community. I knew that I fulfilled all the requirements, but deep down I still thought, “I am a normal teenager with somewhat a normal life”. So because of that I felt I shouldn’t apply. However my friends encouraged me to apply since this was a human rights internship they thought – insisted – would be beneficial for my future. So exactly on the closing date I decided to apply by sending my CV and covering letter.

Matthew at a march for women's rights.
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Understanding the difference between an Asylum-Seeker, a Refugee and a Migrant.

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hi All! I hope you’re all doing great and enjoying the last bit of summer! This week I am going to talk about a subject around which there are a lot of misconceptions. I am going to be explaining the difference between an asylum-seeker, a refugee and a migrant.

The terms  ‘asylum-seeker’, ‘refugee’,and ‘migrant’ are used to describe people who are moving: who have left their country of origin and have crossed borders. The terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ are often used similarly, but it is important to distinguish between them as there is a legal difference.

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Interviewing refugee-led organisations for our Erasmus+ project

This post is our contribution to #ErasmusDays:



Aims of our project

The Erasmus+ project ‘Training Kit for Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations’ aims at addressing the challenges faced by refugee-led organisations. It seeks to equip them with relevant information and skills. Our training kit will support them in order for them to reach a significant level of impact and influence at EU and national levels.

How? By providing training on communication strategies, administrative requirements, advocacy skills, legal information, networking, etc. The training kit will be available to the public and thoroughly disseminated throughout the Partners’ networks.

The aim of this project is to witness a dramatic improvement in the enjoyment of human rights by refugees. The project focuses on the idea of supporting the active inclusion of marginalised, vulnerable or excluded communities. We hope to support those refugees who want to play an more active role in their communities and at the EU level.

Through the project, we will firstly identify the communities’ needs, strengths and trends. We will then produce an educational package that will tackle these challenges and provide improved skills to overcome them.

Interviewing experience

We were very excited to conduct project interviews! As part of this project, we had the opportunity to interview various partners established in Malta. These included refugee-led and non-refugee led organisations.

Taking into account the background, singularities, cultures and languages of the interviewees, we had to know how to formulate questions that can resonate with each of them. We asked non-refugee-led organisations about their perceptions of refugee-led organisations, their value or what skills they might lack to have greater impact. Whereas we interviewed refugee-led organisations about their organisations, inviting them to share the different challenges they face or what skills might be beneficial for them to acquire.

We organised focus group and individual interviews with non-refugee led organisations such as Hal Far Outreach, KOPIN, Blue Door English, Integra, SOS Malta, African Media Association and Migrant Woman Association. Quite similar ideas emerged on the value of non-refugee led organisations and how refugees are better suited to advocate for their own rights. It was also commonly agreed that the lack of financial resources and inclusion or length of any administrative procedures constituted substantial obstacles.

As for refugee-led organisations we had the chance to set up one-on-one interviews. We interviewed Spark15, Libico and the Syrian, Ivorian, Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese Communities. Interestingly, the same points as with non-refugee-led organisations were raised. The difficulty to get involved in the organisation when the members struggle to find a reliable job was highlighted. In addition, the interviewees noted the lack of integration and the bureaucracy.

Our thoughts

Conducting these interviews turned out to be a very instructive experience. It is interesting to see how organisations with very different backgrounds have shared similar challenges and fears, and how they try to overcome these obstacles through resilience and partnership.

We learnt how these organisations still cope in making their organisation succeed despite the continuous challenges they face.

Although each organization has its unique goals and intentions, they all agreed on one common goal: to make sure every migrant, asylum-seeker and refugee in Malta are well treated, educated and granted the rights they are entitled to.

In many ways, we have personally benefited from taking part in this project. We learnt how to conduct interviews with people from different backgrounds, with different cultures, languages and ideas. We gained significant knowledge from their input and from the various and interesting experiences that they spoke to us about and thus challenged our own impressions and ideas.

More generally, when interviewing these organisations, one can see how certain things can appear as details for some and indeed constitute a great deal of challenges for others.

It was very encouraging to see how the refugee led organisations we interviewed were built from the ground up and have achieved so much already!

Written by Julie and Rimaz.