Residents speak of ‘family-like’ environment at Osanna Pia

Two residents of Dar Osanna Pia, a home run by the Salesians of Don Bosco which caters for a number of asylum seekers and provides them with a family-like environment, describe their experience of living here as one resembling ‘home’.

“It’s like coming home,” 24-year-old Maebel from Eritrea said as he recalls the drastic change from living in a detention centre to Osanna Pia.

In this video, which was produced in collaboration with FAB! – a trans-national project focusing on unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers Maebel and Samatar share their experiences of travelling to a country which they barely knew it existed. They explain that their life at Osanna Pia has been a very positive change in their otherwise harsh and difficult journey.

Maebel, for instance, highlights that his first few months in Malta were “horrible” and “devastating”. He then recounts how a social worker from JRS helped him to get to Osanna Pia.

Samatar has been in Malta for eight years. He enjoys sports, boxing and going to the gym.

“I remember coming from the sea and spending my first night in detention,” Samatar recalls, and remarks that he had thought he would be detained for one or two days but instead he was detained for two to three months.

He is grateful for all he got from Osanna Pia saying; “I get most of what I need from here, the same that I would get were I with my family.” For him, he explains, this is “integration”.

Currently in Malta there is no proper system in place which allows for Maltese families to foster unaccompanied migrant children

The authorities say that the system is in principle open to asylum seekers and beneficiaries of protection, but in practice, these minors almost always end up residing in detention and open centres.

Osanna Pia offers a family-like environment, safety and the space to be themselves, however the spaces are very limited and many more migrant minors need and deserve similar living conditions.

You can watch the full video to listen to their stories.