Today, during a one-day conference, the Community Prevention Team within Fondazzjoni Sebh concluded the project Our Community Our Space – Young People Speak Out. The project, financed by the Active Citizens Fund, was initiated in January 2021 and began with a study on stakeholders’ and residents’ perspective of safety within the communities of Hamrun and Marsa. The project also included drama therapy sessions and Youth Platform meetings that offered a safe space for the young people to explore and discuss themes of safety in the community and the re-imagination of community spaces and how public space can truly become an inclusive, safe space for all.

“Living together is a beautiful thing – sharing these spaces gives us a sense of belonging”; “Hamrun and Marsa are diverse communities, and it is beautiful to be able to find so many different shops and restaurants hosting different cultures – here in Hamrun you find everything you need in one street”.

These are a few of the thoughts the young people shared during project activities which created a safe space for young people to come together and voice their concerns and express their dreams. They ask all relevant stakeholders to come together and commit to building a better, stronger and healthier community together because this is “everyone’s responsibility.”

Various stakeholders came together to listen to the young people as they presented their Manifesto, which included simple, tangible ideas that can be easily implemented by decision makers to make these communities feel safer and become a space where the community thrives. Ideas included the request for the re-appropriation of public spaces including requests to have more parks (and not just playgrounds), car-free days and more trees in urban spaces. Other points related to the increase of security cameras, more community police presence and better street lighting were also mentioned.

Amongst the attendees were the Minister for Social Policy and Childrens’ Rights, Hon. Michael Falzon and Her Excellency, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of EuroChild and the Malta Trust Foundation. His Excellency, the Archbishop of Malta, Mons Charles J. Scicluna connected with the audience via video link. A world café session invited various professionals and children to split up into smaller groups and to draw their ideal communities. Many innovative ideas emerged from this activity and were shared with the larger group, as well as creating the opportunity for adults and children to work on a project which also represents how we live, in a shared community.