Living His Dreams in a New Home
When Brhane first arrived in Malta, he was emaciated, frightened and utterly alone. Thanks to our Salesian missionaries, however, he’s now working toward building the brighter future he always dreamed of and risked his life for.
Like so many other young refugees, Brhane envisioned shining opportunities on distant shores when he decided to leave his home country of Eritrea in northeast Africa. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in Eritrea approaches 70 percent. Children often don’t attend school for more than five or six years and employment opportunities outside the military remain scarce.
“In many ways, it’s no wonder that Brhane yearned for something better,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Eritrea is a particularly young country; more than 40 percent of the population is under the age of 15. When youth look around and see nothing but continued poverty, they often decide they have nothing to lose by running away.”
Brhane’s own harrowing journey began in a tiny boat with a group of fellow refugees. They ventured into the Mediterranean Sea on a crossing so rough, they nearly didn’t survive. Fortunately, the crew from a Lebanese cargo ship noticed their distress, pulled the passengers aboard, and brought them to safety in Malta. Brhane was so weak from hunger when he arrived that his rescuers had to carry him from their vessel—and directly into the hospital. That’s where he discovered a Salesian-run day program offered in partnership with several other humanitarian organizations. After a period of rest and recovery, during which he participated in the program, Brhane applied to and was accepted into the Salesian Mamma Margherita Home in Sliema.
Since first opening in 2010, the Mamma Margherita Home has been providing accommodations and care to young refugees like Brhane who arrive in Malta in utter despair. Here, they receive food, medicine and clothing. Residents can also learn English and other basic skills that will make them better equipped to thrive in their new communities.
Father Savio Vella, director of the Mamma Margherita Home, says, “the Salesians are taking care of the most vulnerable and needy young refugees that arrive on our shores. We look after them, we care for them and we help them plan their futures. We offer them hope.”
Because of the opportunities he’s found at the Mamma Margherita Home, Brhane is now nourished, hopeful and has the social support he needs to achieve self-sufficiency in Malta and finally realize his dreams.
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