To see and to serve

New information office sees and serves refugees

A stainless steel urn on a long thin table with information leaflets
A modest set-up for refreshments and information leaflets: the most important things are time and a listening ear

Refugees and asylum seekers in Malta have a new place where they can get much needed advice, help with immigration paperwork, internet access and – most importantly – thoughtful hospitality.

The Peace Lab information centre, which CMS mission partners Doug and Jacqui Marshall have recently established in cooperation with a local Franciscan friar, is situated near the Hal Far open centre. This is where refugees and asylum seekers are sent once released from detention.

“This information office is a long-held dream that has come to fruition,” said Doug.

“In our first few weeks we met a number of people with diverse stories and needs: a proactive young man who is looking to volunteer, a young woman who was trafficked into the sex trade but subsequently found freedom, and many who just want to have their dignity recognised and be given an opportunity to work.”

Family of four in bright sunshine outside on rocky outcrop
The Marshalls: Jacqui, Chloe, Doug and Ethan

At the centre, the Marshalls are seeking to “provide some hospitality in an otherwise inhospitable place”.

They offer tea and coffee and time, which Doug says is key: “It’s about seeing people, not just serving people, actually spending time with them, whether that’s going over their documents or their CV, or just listening, so that people know they are valued.

“This is the most important thing we do.”

Published 7 June 2019
Europe, Middle East and North Africa

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