Paulo Freire Institute provides Adult Literacy offers an informal environment which help participants to feel at ease. The tutors are aided with tailored handbooks prepared by the literacy unit. Moreover tutors are capable to respond to the acutal needs of their learners. Computers are used as a tool and as an incentive, apart from the added value of helping learners to increase their computer skills.
Aim of the project
the aim of the Institute is to empower, and promote the self-development, self-confidence and the talents (including functional literacy) of each and every individual; especially the weak in society. For this reason our Institute will apply three interrelated approaches: community development, non-formal education and community social work.The social work service at the institute is becoming better known by the general population. Also all the activities at the institute have increased greatly over the past two years and this has meant that many more people are coming to the institute. The demand for our social work services has increased greatly. However we have had to refer a large number to other sections of Appogg since we do not have enough social workers to cope with them.
What is it doing
All the Institute’s projects demonstrate a great amount of work done on a community level. They are projects, which were designed to meet the direct needs of children (especially those with learning difficulties, and difficult social backgrounds), their parents, unemployed persons and other groups with social needs in the neighbourhood. A recent development has been the inclusion of children from immigrants living in an open centre with our programmes for children (literacy for children and non-formal education for children). At the moment seven children from Congo are participating. It is hoped that this would contribute to the integration of migrants in the Maltese Community particularly at Zejtun. All the Institute’s projects benefit from a great contribution from volunteers and other resources, both local and external. The projects can be further developed because there are healthy signs of motivation and increasing community participation in response to the growing awareness of the issues they are facing.
Since March 2005 the Paulo Freire Institute has been accepted as a Community-based Lifelong Learning Centre in a programme coordinated by the Foundation for Educational Services. This project which has had the backing of the Zejtun Local Council has started to bear fruit. The institute offers computer awareness courses; a course in basic Maltese and English. Various developmental courses are orgainised from time to time on thinking skills, empowerment and parental skills.
This work is very much in line with the proposal made by the Ministry of Social Policy some years ago when the importance of working on social welfare reform through community development work was highlighted. The main points of focus were:
• The stimulation of local activities
• The improvement of the physical and the social environment of the community
• The increase of responsibilities of the local people
• Assistance in the social rehabilitation in those areas considered being depressed areas in Malta or areas having a higher concentration of social problems than the rest of the Island.
What it is achieved
The project Literacy for Employment, carried out in collaboration with ETC is targeted specifically at unemployed persons and fits in with Key priority 1, 2 and 3. The Institute is contributing towards key priority 7, 9 and 10 above all through its Community social work service, which is functioning directly through the funds, obtained through the funding obtained through the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity. The Institute’s agreement with Agenzija Appogg through which the service is bought ensures professional supervision and training for the social workers.
The Institute’s Headquarters at Misrah Dicembru 13, has continued to be a hub of activity for the community at Zejtun and beyond. However a proportion of the Institute’s activities take place at the Pastoral Centre of Gebel San Martin. In 2001 the parish of Zejtun opened a Pastoral Centre at Gebel San Martin. This is an area were the need for Social and Community work is high. It is also an area where the youngest families at Zejtun live and where many young families with Social problems from other parts of Malta have come to live. The Jesuits have always worked a great deal in this area, and have contributed towards the integration of these people with Zejtun. For these reasons as well as because of the need of space, the Non-formal Education activities are taking place, almost exclusively, at Gebel San Martin. The meetings and training services for the mothers’ groups also take place at the Centre.
Who is doing it
The Institue educative team, two social workers and a short eventual team of volunteers.