In 2012/2013, SOS Malta in partnership with Agenzija Zghazagh ran a project, "Youth Upbeat", co-financed through The European Refugee Fund. Youth Upbeat was a 1 year project which aims to promote integration between different sectors of Maltese society, in particular young people, and refugees or persons with subsidiary protection by providing opportunities for interaction and awareness-raising through the use of culture and the performing arts as a tool for social cohesion.
Partners in the project believe that culture is a comprehensive and an effective tool for integration in Malta as this approach provides opportunities to promote interaction through shared interests. Furthermore, through allowing participants to understand and appreciate the cultural richness that can be contributed by immigrants to Malta, this project will promote an understanding of the positive impacts Beneficiaries of International Protection can have for Maltese society and culture.
The project co-financed by EU/ERF will specifically work with young people in Malta, seeking to raise awareness about the situation of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection and the potential positive impact they can have within Maltese society, using performing arts as a bridging medium. Over the course of the period of 1 year, approximately 6 Cultural Ambassadors all having refugee or subsidiary protection status, who have a particular performing arts skill, will share aspects of their culture as well as their personal stories within 24 interactive workshops with approximately 480 13-14 year olds.
Furthermore, approximately 12 young people interested in performing arts took part in a live-in performing arts weekend, culminating in a final performance for the general public in Malta. In this performance, participants performed a piece devised during the live-in workshop using African and Maltese culture. This cultural evening included the launch of a documentary and a photographic exhibition regarding the project. Through identifying common interests in music, dance and drama, this project succeeded in promoting awareness, tolerance and understanding between the Maltese society and Beneficiaries of International Protection further promoting their integration into Maltese society.
The Project underwent an internal evaluation process in order to identify lessons learnt and recommendations. These were brought together in a Lessons Learnt Document.