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.
YMCA Malta is a non-profit and voluntary organisation seeking to promote the ision to build a more just society. Its mission includes, but is not limited to, working amongst and empowering young people and providing services to the most-needy members of the community.
YMCA Malta’s objectives and goals is to perform mainly as:
- A Social Work services agency;
- A Youth Work agency;
- A Housing Association;
- Or any other role as may be decided at an AGM or EGM.
YMCA Malta aims to promote a programme of actvities designed to foster the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical wellbeing of young and older people. It also seek to support individuals irrespective of their mental and physical abilities and without any discrimination to sex, religion, nationality, race and political opinions. YMCA Malta also seeks to develop and strengthen links with and to seek recognition from the State and Church authorities and other private/public/corporate entities in Malta.
YMCA Malta takes active part in cultural, environmental, artistic, musical, audio-visual and other forms of activies both in Malta and aboard.
YMCA Malta’s activities are delivered through its 4 main programmes, that is, Youth Empowerment Programme, Residental Programme, Social Business Programme, and the Wellbeing Programme.
The YMCA Homeless Project was initiated in 1995 with the YMCA being the first organisation in Malta, providing a service to homeless individuals and families.
One of the sub-programmes offered through the YMCA Homeless Project is the provision of residential accommodation both at Dar Niki Cassar as well as at its second stage accommodation – the Y Communal Home. Through these subprojects, service users are not only provided with accommodation but also with psychosocial support through case reviews, psychotherapeutic sessions, key working sessions, just to name a few.
The Youth Empowerment Project is a youth-led youth programme which is facilitated from the YMCA Head Office in Valletta. This programme aims to provide young people with the opportunity to not only become YMCA members and participate in its activities but also to empower young people to become change agents in their communities.
Moreover, through the implementation of different youth-led and youth-focused projects, young people are provided with an opportunity to learn new skills which will, in turn, support them in their education and increase their employability.
The Social Business Programme provides YMCA Malta with social objectives to arrive at specific and desired outcomes of several projects related to the main YMCA objectives. It creates methods related to improving wellbeing through social business. This programme also identifies target social indicators that enable the YMCA to measure and monitor changes to specific dimensions of human wellbeing that do not hinder financial stability and cohesion.
Through the Social Business Programme, the YMCA projects integrate social entrepreneurship as the basis of these projects so that the services which are provided by YMCA are consolidated and sustainable. Furthermore, it collaborates with private enterprises and organisations in Malta with the aim of achieving its social objectives and social indicators.
The Wellbeing Programme provides appropriate professional understanding and intervention in response to the emotional and behavioural needed of the service-users. This is done through the provision of individual and group counselling/psychotherapy sessions which are part of an integrated, preventative and intervention service.
This programme uses relational and psychotherapeutic skills effectively in the services given through the modelling of healthy interactions and respectful communication, the warm, nurturing, emphatic and unconditional caring therapeutic relationships, and the achievement of skills development in specific target areas. Service-users include in-house, community and other organisations.
Address – National Office and Website
Mr Anthony Camilleri, National General Secretary
Address: YMCA Malta, 178, Merchants’ Street, Valletta, Malta, EU