Malta – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: approx. 1976
Membership Status: Related
Brief YMCA History
Although it is known that the YMCA in Malta existed during the time that Malta was a British colony, this YMCA activity stopped when Malta became independent in 1964. It is assumed that this YMCA activity was an extension of the British YMCA specifically geared to serve the military forces then stationed in Malta.
The Maltese YMCA traces its origin to 1976 when Albert Degiorgio, then a young person, was infected with the YMCA spirit after having attended a Scottish YMCA summer camp activity. The early days of YMCA Malta were concentrated around a small coffee bar (the Imperial Cafe in Valletta) which served as a meeting point for young people. The main activities up to 1988 consisted of organising rock concerts, visiting patients in hospital, Xmas parties for children and performing night street patrols to collect drunk or drugged young people off the streets. The latter led to a good co-operation with the police who were appreciative of this work.
The National Council was established in 1989 to improve and consolidate on the previous work and expand into new areas. The EAY, the Scottish YMCA and the Swiss parish of Wil provided the initial funding. In total, four local associations were formed in the first two years of operation of the National Council. Amongst other work, the YMCA undertakes international youth exchanges, English language courses, literacy programmes, suicide helpline, canoeing, first aid courses, street theatre, tensing, counselling and providing homeless shelter. YMCA (Malta) is not supported by the local church but has been acknowledged by the state by having received two of the top NGO awards for outstanding youth work.
Being a Christian association, the YMCA of Malta draws its inspiration from the example of Jesus Christ and regards its members to be co-workers in the extension of God’s reign on earth.
‘YMCA (Malta) strives towards the creation of a more just society by empowering its volunteers through appropriate training to care and serve the needy and underprivileged members of the community’.
1. First aid training courses – manning of first aid stations at large public gatherings – support of one YMCA ambulance.
2. Counselling and assistance to suicidal persons.
3. International English Language School.
4. International youth exchanges.
5. Sports – canoeing, camping, hiking, abseiling, swimming, etc.
6. Social work – accommodation for homeless people, counselling for emotional and family breakdowns. Job finding. Assistance with alternative accommodation. On average 7 social cases are dealt with daily.
7. Training programmes – foreign languages, street theatre, origami, guitar and drum lessons, computer courses
8. Tensing (teenagers singing), film club, lectures on Maltese social history, drama classes, homework help for kids, art lessons, creating with junk.
9. National activities – street and art festivals, choir and band concerts, gigs and plays, celebrating YMCA Peace Day.
10.Setting up a homeless shelter for 45 persons at 182, St. Paul’s Street, Valletta.
1. Residential Programme: ‘Dar Niki Cassar’ a shelter for families and individuals experiencing homelessness. We offer emergency admission shelter, an adolescent programme for young homeless people between the ages of 18 to 21, an adult programme for people over the age of 21 and an aftercare programme.
2. Through our Youth Empowerment Programme; we offer 4 active lines of services; (1) research in the area of homelessness and youths, (2) education programmes varying from internships, workshops, seminars, (3) outreach to young people and youth work practices and (4) psychotherapeutic support in-house and to the community.
Address – National Office and Web
Mr. Jean Paul Mifsud, General Secretary
178, Head Office YMCA Valletta Merchant street Valletta