Donation of Protective Masks

On Thusday, 6th May, Social Care Standards Authority’s Inspectorate employees distributed face masks to Id-Dar tal-Providenza.

Nadine Camilleri Cassano, Administrator of the Home, thanked the Hon. Silvio Parnis, Parliamentary Secretary For Active Ageing and Persons with Disability together with Norwex Malta Ltd. and Corinthia Group of Companies who donated these masks.

Dar tal-Providenza seamstresses produce face masks

Recently the Maltese Government kindly donated 9,000 face masks for the use of employees working at the Home. These masks will have to be discarded after use.
Because of the eventuality that these masks will not last for ever, the Home’s seamstresses started producing face masks from a washable and reusable material.
Every employee of the Home will be getting four of these masks.
The Home thanks its seamstresses for their work and commitment to continue safeguarding the residents in all the Dar tal-Providenza homes from this virus.

Smart phones to enable residents to keep contact with their family and friends

One of the first measures that Dar tal-Providenza took to safeguard the residents and the Support workers from the Corona Virus pandemic was to stop the usual visits by family and friends to residents in our homes. For that reason, the Home invested in a number of smart phones to ensure that the residents will still be able to maintain contact with their relatives and friends and vice-versa. This service was very well received by the residents as well as by their families and friends.

Holy Week Exhibition

This year, the usual exhibition tied to Holy Week that takes place at Id-Dar tal-Providenza in Siġġiewi will not be open to the public due to the CONVID-19 pandemic, however it was felt appropriate that it should still be set up for the benefit of the residents. This was possible with the work put in by the Ability Promoters and the residents themselves during cultural sessions that are specially organised for them.

Dar tal-Providenza cancels the July Volleyball Marathon

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for public health reasons in line with directives issued by our Health Authorities, the organisaton committee felt it necessary to cancel the Volleyball Marathon planned for July 3rd, 4th and 5th of this year. The Marathon is possible with the involvment of volleyball players, officials and volunteers whose health and that of their families as well as that of the Home’s residents is a priority.

Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Dar tal-Providenza, thanks all involved for their commitment and encourages them to abide at all times by the directives issued by the Health Authorities.

“It feels like a dream, once all this is over I want to hug someone” – Dar Tal-Providenza resident

“It feels like I am in a dream. I feel both scared and angry that people are not aware that a ‘healthier’ person can still infect people who are more vulnerable and at risk,” Christine Borg, a resident at Il-Dar Tal-Providenza told The Malta Independent.

“I feel more anxious as I cannot go out, cannot keep up with my friends and family. I pray for the safety and the health of our carers, their families too, as I am so dependent on them. Without the carers I cannot even get out of bed. As soon as this is all over, I want to go out and hug somebody,” said Borg.

These are difficult times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s routine, as around the world individuals, businesses, teachers and social care workers adjust to the ‘new normal’. Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Il-Dar Tal-Providenza, a home for persons with disability, spoke to The Malta Independent and described how, despite the new challenges, the home continues to provide a service and protect the wellbeing of residents and staff.

“The pandemic spread of COVID-19 took us all by surprise and the situation seems to be very worrying, keeping in mind the sad stories coming from Italy and other European countries,” said Micallef. He said that like other NGO’s, Il-Dar Tal-Providenza, feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure the safety of clients and staff. He said that whilst the past few days were not easy to adapt to, the home took up the challenge and changed accordingly.

“I am proud to say that our staff are cooperating fully and doing their best under the circumstances. The first step we took at the home was to ask our health and safety expert to draw up a contingency plan. The next day we started implementing these measures to reduce the risk of the virus reaching our homes including, amongst others, taking everyone’s temperature, the changing of outdoor shoes and filling in a screening questionnaire by all incoming staff and service providers.”

He said that the decision taken by Agenzija Sapport to stop Day Services was another challenge the home had to face. With the removal of Day Services, that meant that clients had to stay at home to keep them safe, instead of spending most of the day at these Centres. “Our Ability Promoters met this challenge by creating more indoor activities in small groups. This is not easy for some of our clients, especially those with autism or challenging behaviour to understand this sudden change of lifestyle, but fortunately most of them are adapting well.”

Micallef recalls how the most difficult decision was to ask parents, relatives and friends not to visit the home. “We are grateful that all relatives understood that this decision was in the best interest of the residents.”

Micallef said that whilst it is not a concern currently, donations are not coming through at the same rate as usual and due to the virus, all planned fundraising events have been cancelled. “Our first concern is the safety of the residents and the staff, but we do hope that the government will be there to help us this year if we will not be able to make ends meet. If the crisis prolongs, we will also have to shelve any planned projects we had for this year,” he explained.

“During such difficult times, the last thing an organisation like us would need is to feel left alone by the authorities, as we are seeing is the case with many foreign services providers,” said Micallef. He explained how the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) of which Il-Dar tal-Providenza is a member of, has praised the European Union for a fast reaction to the crisis, but that EASPD is concerned with the lack of provisions for social care.

“It is claiming that many professionals are exposed on a daily basis to the COVID-19, but the funding continuity is making operating conditions challenging, which is leading to many day-care, residential and other support centres to close.”

He said that from their end, the home has received much needed support from the Social Cares Standards Authority (SCSA) and other entities. “We are also working closely with the Diocesan Director for the Elderly Homes run by the Church and other services providers, who are offering residential services for persons with disability.”

Senior Support Worker Marvic Deguara explained that just like everyone else, residents sometimes find it frustrating as they are not allowed to go out and meet other people.

“Our Ability Promoters are doing their best to organise a variety of indoor activities for them. We are also grateful for MITA which has installed a new network system at the home, so that we have access to free Wifi, allowing the residents to communicate with their relatives through Skype or Messenger.”

She said that as a worker, she too feels scared and is unaware of what the future will bring. “We do not want any of our residents to get infected, nor ourselves, but we are taking all the necessary precautions to safeguard their safety and ours.”

RV Chung, a support worker at the home, said: “We don’t know where we are heading, but we are very lucky that at Id-Dar tal-Providenza, we are provided free transport for those workers who usually come to work and return home via public transport.”

Ability promoter, George Harrington highlighted that the home is creating other activities for the residents, to replace their daily outdoor activities. “I feel that the residents, although missing outings and other activities we cannot do at the moment, appreciate that we still care and are there for them. As a worker I think the home is taking the necessary measures to try to keep this virus out and I feel safe although scared sometimes as well.”

An article published by Giulia Magri on The Independent on 28th March 2020.

Id-Dar tal-Providenza gets a new Information Technology infrastructure

The President of Malta, Dr George Vella, this morning inaugurated an infrastructural project in Information Technology of the highest level at Id-Dar tal-Providenza. The project materialised with an investment of €100,000, ten kilometers of data cable, over two thousand voluntary man hours, over four hundred points, networking equipment and around sixty WiFi access points. Extensive work in networking was undertaken to change the whole ICT infrastructure in all the eleven blocks at the Home and WiFi was introduced in all the areas of the Siġġiewi complex.

Fr Martin Micallef, Director of the Home, said that with the help of MITA Cares, the Home will start benefitting from this Information Technology whose beneficiaries will be first and foremost the residents who will use it now as well as those who will use residential services in the future. A good and adjourned infrastructure does not only translate in a more efficient administration but will also benefit the residents, their relatives and visitors to the Home. It is a well known fact that a Non-Govermental Organisation (NGO) like id-Dar tal-Providenza, that relies on the generosity of the Maltese people, many times cannot undertake projects of a certain calibre, even though they are indispensable, without the professional as well as financial support of government entities, parastatals or commercial. “Today”, said Fr Martin, “we are inaugurating a dream come true but which surely couldn’t be realised without the helping hand of MITA Cares.”

Fr Martin added that when MITA believed in the importance of this project it was also showing its belief in what the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disability, of which Malta is a signatory, set out to do, which is that Member States have to promote access to persons with disability to technology and new systems of information and communication, including the internet.

Today, information technology has opened a world of huge opportunities to persons with disability so that they can improve on their education, get to know better the world around them, inclusion, friendships as well as grabbing work opportunities that might come up.

Fr Martin thanked the Government, represented by the Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo, for the help given by MITA for the realisation of this project which was made with a huge investment together with the hard work of all the employees who contributed with a great heart, great professionalism as well as with voluntary contributions. Fr Martin also thanked the President, Dr George Vella for his presence and for his acceptance to inaugurate another project by MITA Cares as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.

Other speakers where Mr Wayne Valentine, Project Coordinator, Mr Tony Sultana, MITA’s Executive Chairman, Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo and the President, Dr George Vella who delivered the closing speech.

Friends of Providence House NSW raise $14,500AUD in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza

Friends of Providence House NSW (FOPH) raised $14,500AUD in aid of Id-Dar tal-Providenza during the Australian ‘Festa ta’ Ġenerożità’ held in Blacktown last month.
Many months of hard work went into a concert that combined fundraising and great entertainment that was held at the La Vallette Social Centre in Blacktown on Sunday, 23 February 2020. The final sum raised will be presented to Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, at the start of our annual Volleyball Marathon that takes place between the 3rd and the 5th of July in our Siġġiewi parking lot.
Special guests for the afternoon included Ms. Antoinette Caruana, President of La Vallette Social Centre and the group’s major sponsor, Mr George Vella of Breakaway Travel Blacktown together with other leaders of the Maltese community in Sydney.
This was the fourth fundraiser of its kind and the FOPH group are grateful to the La Vallette Social Centre for providing the use of their hall. The concert was well organised with plenty of variety and fundraising activities. A big thank you goes to all the entertainers for their professionalism and for offering their services free of charge.
The secretary of Friends of Providence House NSW, Ms Marisa Previtera wished to extend the Group’s appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all those who attended as well as to all their sponsors, especially Breakaway Travel Blacktown, the Australian-Maltese Chamber of Commerce, Minchinberry Fruit Market, Zammit Ham & Bacon Curers, Limestone Café at Schofields and Sunnys Confectioneries. The ‘Voice of the Maltese in Australia’ and community Radio Stations 2GLF and WOW FM are also acknowledged for their ongoing support.
(Report by Marisa Previtera)

The residents of Id-Dar tal-Providenza enjoy Carnival

Every year the residents of Id-Dar tal-Providenza, with the help and creativity of the Ability Promoters and Support workers, celebrate Carnival in a big way and this they did nothing less. The St. Paul Hall was decorated in order to create an atmosphere of a feast of colours, colourful costumes, music and dance. Special guest was well known singer Freddie Portelli who saw to it that the residents had fun.

Lidl Malta donates two kitchens to Dar tal-Providenza

Lidl Malta has installed two kitchens in community homes forming part of Id-Dar tal-Providenza. The installation of two brand new kitchens was made one in Dar Pirotta in Birkirkara, which hosts a group of nine persons with disabilities whose age ranges between 22 and 40 years, and the second in a new residence which is about to open in Balluta.

The supermarket chain said that every year, it develops a broad year-long plan to work with various charities and non-profit organizations; one of which was Id-Dar tal-Providenza in 2019.

Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Id-Dar tal-Providenza thanked Lidl for its assistance, amounting to over €7,000.