[WATCH] Compassion and integration: Young students reflect on the enduring migrant crisis debate

Four young students express their perspectives on the migrant crisis, advocating for compassion, integration, and an inclusive environment while recognising the challenges faced by Malta in sharing responsibility among other nations in addressing the crisis

In the midst of the forever ongoing migrant crisis debate, a young student Mariah Debattista has emerged as a vocal advocate for compassion, cultural respect, and humanitarian aid. 

"I always think of it from the perspective of if it were me instead, what would I feel," Mariah reflected on TVM’s Xtra.

Invited together with three other students, Mariah, a St Aloysius first-year student encapsulating her profound sense of empathy. 

Through her perspective, she encourages a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by immigrants and highlighted the urgency of providing assistance.

"I want us to help them, I don't want the Mediterranean Sea, as they say, to be the cemetery of immigrants," Mariah said.

Her words draw attention to the perilous journeys undertaken by migrants across the Mediterranean, where countless lives have been tragically lost over the past years. 

She acknowledged the importance of immigrants respecting Maltese cultural values and authorities.

Expressing her heartfelt concern for the most vulnerable victims of the crisis, Mariah, who is also her student council’s vice president, said she felt a sense of remorse to see children her age in this state. 

Meanwhile, Junior College student Jake Muscat spoke of the complexities of integration, cultural differences, and the importance of international cooperation in addressing such crises.

He spoke of Malta's limitations as he asserts, "we want to help them, but as we know, Malta is not a big country." 

He explained that despite the genuine desire to provide assistance, the country's limited resources and infrastructure present significant challenges. 

Jake, who is JC Student Council President agreed with host Saviour Balzan that Malta should help immigrants integrate better into society.

However, Jake also spoke of the shared responsibility among nations in addressing the migrant crisis.

"We help them, but if there are other countries that are ready to take them, we shouldn’t shy away from transporting them." 

Speaking about his time at De La Salle Sixth Form, student Andy Wadge expressed that integrating with peers of different religious backgrounds was not challenging, despite attending a Christian school.

The young boy specifically mentions a friend from Libya, who brings a unique perspective to the group. 

"We have a friend who comes from Libya, with a different religion," Andy shares, “we treat her as our friend, there are no differences between us," 

While acknowledging the contrasting religious practices, Andy highlights the acceptance that has developed within the group especially when he joins his friend to mass every week, but she skips it.

Within the halls of Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary, student Shianne Grima Butler says she feels a sense of a diverse student body promoting an atmosphere of inclusivity and friendship, transcending religious and cultural differences.

"While there can be instances where some individuals use these differences to insult and harm others during arguments, I rarely witness such divisions at school," she shared.