The National Volunteer Award was organised for the eight consecutive time by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector. The Award was held under the patronage of H.E. the President Dr. George Vella and in the presence of the Hon. Dr. Clifton Grima, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations. The purpose of the Award is to give wider recognition to the services of volunteers and voluntary organisations within the community, to raise awareness shown exemplary values and find models for young people and society by broader way, and to recognise the important contributions made in several areas.As in previous years the National Volunteer was complimented by three other awards which were the Youth Volunteer Award, the Volunteer Organisation Award and the Special Award for Voluntary Work in the Community.
The aim of the National Awards is to give broad recognition to the service done by the volunteers and Voluntary Organisations within the community, create awareness of the exemplary values displayed by the volunteers and organisations with the goal of locating role models for youth and wider society; and to recognise the important contributions made in various fields.
The Award Ceremony was held on the 6th of January 2020 at the Presidential Palace at San Anton where the Awards were presented by H.E. the President Dr. George Vella, Hon. Dr. Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations accompanied by Dr. Noel Camilleri, Chairperson of the Malta Council of the Voluntary Sector. In attendance was also the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations Dr. Anthony Abela Medici.
Dr. Noel Camilleri, Chairperson of the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector in his speech emphasized the importance of volunteering which is the back bone of our society. He stated that the voluntary sector is the third pillar of society and authorities need to keep supporting the sector in its work within our communities. Government needs to give further recognition to the Council as representative of the sector both on local and International level as established by the National Policy on Volunteering. He thanked both HE the President for his interest to the sector as well as Dr. Grima for his continuous support.
Parliamentary Secretary, thanked those present for their work in favor of society and stressed that “another aspect that surely supports this sector is the strengthening of the law that governs the voluntary sector. In fact this law has strengthened the functioning of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations and gave more legal personality to the Council of the Voluntary Sector to extend further its work giving clearer direction to the sector especially in management and fundraising to do so in a transparent and accountable manner. ”
Finally, Parliamentary Secretary Grima reiterated his personal commitment and that of the Government in full collaboration with the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector to sustain the voluntary sector in its work , which sector is seen as an essential partner in the society we live in.
In his speech, President George Vella said that volunteering is a very important pillar in our society. He added that he has the opportunity to meet with organisations working in various fields of volunteering. “The work you do is invaluable. Hundreds of different services are provided for free. No society in any country can function, if these services are not provided by voluntary organisations. ”
The President encouraged all those who want to start offering their time to help in any voluntary organisation on a local level as well as at national level. He said that everyone has something to offer, especially young people. He said that volunteering connects people by removing the sense of loneliness, help make new friendships and strengthen the sense of community in an individual.
Ms. Maria Louisa Scicluna was awarded the National Volunteer Award 2019 during the National Volunteer Ceremony held on the 6th January 2020 at the Presidential Palace in San Anton.Maria Louisa Scicluna, also known as Marisa, began its involvement with the OASI Foundation in 1997. During these years she volunteered in the administration and provided consolation to several families. She never looked back, and thus stopped a group of about 60 volunteers to give support to the Foundation. She organises and manages several meetings with members, and ensures that they meet on a regular basis.
Among the activities organised with volunteers, is the annual bazaar, selling traditional sweets including ‘figolli’, sports activities such as Zumba, and gives her contribution to the OASI Cup Run and Walk and in the National conference of the Foundation. She has always shown her dedication and any initiative that issued was successful. Always ready to; listen to the opinions of others, work in a team, and to be a role model.
This award is complemented by three other awards; Youth Volunteer Award won by Gabriella Meli, Voluntary Organisation Award won by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, and the Corporate Volunteer Award won by Tangiers International Company Limited.
During the ceremony the Four Winds Clarinet Quartet delivered a selection of musical pieces.
Photos taken by Mr Kevin Cassar.