In 2020, the ‘Sharing Lives’ service within Aġenzija Sapport received the contribution of 26 volunteers, both Maltese and foreign. To recognise this contribution, an online event was held on in appreciation of these volunteers and their work for the benefit of the number of persons with disability who made use of this service.
Minister for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing Julia Farrugia Portelli, through an online message, commended this initiative and thanked the 26 volunteers and Aġenzija Sapport staff for their services, this regardless of the challenges presented by the current pandemic throughout which this service still continued to offer its support. Minister Farrugia Portelli described this government as a social government which has now put the disability sector at ministerial level for the first time by means of a ministry dedicated to inclusion and the rights of persons with disability. She concluded by saying that she looks forward to collaborating with Aġenzija Sapport in order to increase inclusion in our society.
Ruth Rose Sciberras, CEO of Aġenzija Sapport, thanked all the volunteers without whom it would not have been possible to organise over 100 social activities this year regardless of the challenges. This continues to show the commitment of the agency to being flexible and delivering effective services to persons with a disability according to their needs. For the agency, the volunteers of ‘Sharing Lives’ are an important part of the team and their contribution is an important ingredient which will continue to be reinforced.
Thanks to these volunteers, together with the employees of Aġenzija Sapport who operate this service, 65 persons with disability benefitted from ‘Sharing Lives’ in 2020. Regardless of the Covid-19 situation, Aġenzija Sapport still adapted activities and initiatives to carry on providing this service. During this year, the service focused particularly on online events and also dealt with requests for social contact, referring to one-to-one initiatives rather than group events.
However, a number of events were still organised, ranging from rugby, fishing, trekking, and art and music sessions amongst others. Aside from the valid contribution of volunteers, there was also the collaboration of various entities without which such activities would not have been possible. These include The Brian Foundation, YMCA, Aġenzija Sedqa, RMJ, Malta Rabbit Club, Science in the City and the Jesuits.
‘Sharing Lives’ is a service aimed to increase the opportunity of social interactions and activities for persons with disability especially for persons who have a limited or no social network. This was also the first year that the service was extended to Gozo.
Those interested in contributing some of their time towards ‘Sharing Lives’, including students, professionals, and organisations from both Malta and Gozo, may contact Aġenzija Sapport on freephone 153, 2256 8000 (Malta) or 2156 9909 (Gozo). Training, supervision and support will be provided to volunteers for their own personal growth. Students in post-secondary educational institutions, as well as University students, may apply to carry out voluntary work and/or placement within the service. A certificate is given to those who offer 30 hours or more to this service.
For more information, one may visit the agency’s website www.sapport.gov.mt or follow the agency on social media.