Malta: A Centre in the shipyards

Zejtun is a town in the southern part of the island of Malta, close to the factories and shipyards. In 1989, a community of Jesuits went to live in this poor working-class district. ?We could not witness God?s love by simply giving food to the poor,? affirms Pierre Grech Marguerat SJ. ?If we didn?t go beyond simple donations, we would make the poor dependent on our charity.? ?Going beyond? can take several forms and one is living alongside the socially deprived. Sharing the lifestyle of their poor neighbours, the Jesuits seek to give them the tools to empower them to ?go beyond? the status quo. After consolidating their presence, the Jesuit started developing a Centre for Faith and Justice (CFJ). They soon realised that the problem of illiteracy was a serious one, and needed to be tackled at a structural level. In 2001, the CFJ set up the Paulo Freire Institute, which promotes literacy at various levels and creates public awareness of the lack of quality-resources offered by the State?s school system to the poor. The Institute, together with the University of Malta and a government agency, offers a programme of courses teaching basic literacy skills to unemployed adults. Jesuits and young-adult volunteers provide academic help to children, organise summer camps and cultural outings, and conduct formation-courses for parents. In collaboration with a large number of lay persons, the Centre publishes the journal ?Orbis,? organises seminars and brings this message to the wider public of the island. A recent statement of the Centre on the referendum about joining the European Union had a big impact. [HL30102]