European Award for Dar tal-Providenza

Dar tal-Providenza, described as a ‘Monument for Mercy’ was awarded the European Citizen’s Prize 2021 for Malta from the European Parliament in recognition for the best Maltese and European values.
MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa, who put forward the nomination of Dar tal-Providenza, said that the mission of the project submitted provides homes in an atmosphere similar to that of the family, integrates and empowers persons with disability in the community in conformity with the norms and values of the EU and all this work went ahead even during the exceptionally difficult circumstanes of last year.

Fr Martin Micallef, Director of Dar tal-Providenza, exprssed his appreciation for the recognition by the European Parliament and said that the strategy of the European Union for persons with disability for the decade between 2021 and 2030, is built around the recognition of the rights adopted by various other European countries, independent and, wherever possible, autonomous living, the elimination of discrimination as well as the creation of equal opportunities in every level possible.

These are intertwined with the concept of dignity, a concept that is the key for everything that began when Mgr. Mikiel Azzopardi started working on his dream of the project called Dar tal-Providenza. A Home that Maltese and Gozitans alike believed in and sustained through the years.

The recognition of this work on a European level continues to encourage us in our commitment, so that whatever we do at Dar tal-Providenza is strengthened and that the sense of dignity towards persons with disability continues to gather steam in all the work that is done within this sector.

Fr Martin took the opportunity to thank all those who throughout the years strived to see what Dar tal-Providenza is today. He thanked the founder of the Home, Dun Mikiel Azzopardi, who started the Home from scratch, at a time when persons with disability were literally denied their most basic rights and excluded from any participation in society. Another thank you went to the residents of the Home, of whom there was a small representation during the award ceremony and who always were and will still be at the very centre of the Home’s work. He went on to thank his predecessor Mgr Lawrence Gatt, the Management and Board of Directors of the Home, the employees, the volunteers of Dar tal-Providenza, the Government of the day as well as previous ones, and the Maltese and Gozitans who have always believed in the cause of the Home and sustained it with various ways of support.

He ended by thanking the European Parliament for recognising the work that Dar tal-Providenza has been doing for more than 50 years, Dr Mario Sammut, Head of the European Parliament Office in Malta and, of course, the members of the European Parliament who kindly made the nomination for this Award.
The Head of the European Parliament office in Malta, Dr Mario Sammut said the despite all the difficulties faced during the pandemic, Dar tal-Providenza continued to protect those most vulnerable in Maltese society. He continued by saying that the excellent work done in these very difficult circumstances truly reflects the best of European values. The recognition of both the effort and dedication is of great importance to the European Parliament and hence this Award.

When presenting the Citizen’s Award to the Director of Dar tal-Providenza, MEP Alex Agius Saliba said that the Home and its project ‘Monument of Mercy’ demonstrates to all the European Institutions what we Maltese were already priviliged to know. He praised the work done by Dar tal-Providenza and Fr Martin in particular for the spirit of community that is felt in the whole village of Siġġiewi
The European Citizen’s Award is meted out every year for exceptional achievements by citizens or groups in Member States of the European Union. Eligible are national and pan-European projects that further promote integration and cooperation as well as the values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: dingnity, equality, solidarity, justice, rights and liberties of the citizens.

Last Friday’s Award ceremony that took place in the European Parliament Malta offfice in Valleta will be followed by a European ceremony of the presentation of the Award in Brussels for citizens or groups from different European member states of the EU who were given the Award in the years 2020 – 2021.

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