The President and Mrs. Vella make official visit to Gozo
The President and his wife, Mrs. Vella, made their second official visit to Gozo, where they visited Dar Arka in Ghajnsielem. They also visited Dar il-Gublew tal-Hniena and Dar il-Madonna ta’ Pinu, both of which are apartments for independent living for people with special needs.
The Assistant Director of the Arka Foundation, Fr Michael Galea, said that the Arka Foundation required € 100,000 a month to continue helping residents and much of this money came from donations. President George Vella praised the work being done by this entity and appealed to the Maltese and Gozitans to be generous with Dar Arka and other entities such as the Malta Community Chest Fund since their work depended on donations.
There are currently 15 people with disabilities in Dar Arka and in the last four years Dar il-Gublew tal-Hniena opened which houses 5 people with disabilities who are able to live independently. The Foundation this year is celebrating 20 years since it was set up and continues to offer help to those in need.
The Assistant Director of Arka Foundation, Fr Michael Galea, said that the Foundation was working to open its second apartment for the disabled, Dar il-Madonna Ta’ Pinu, which will also have the service of a 24 hour carer. Rev. Michael Galea said that at a cost of 100,000 euros a month, the Foundation depends very much on people’s generosity.
“We are working on this independent living project together with the parliamentary secretariat for people with disabilities and active ageing, while the Arka Foundation took care of buying the apartment, adjusting it to be accessible to them, and also managing the workers to make these two apartments viable …. It is true that the Government will help us financially but this is not enough. In order to continue our work and carry out new projects, we rely heavily on the donations of the Maltese and Gozitans. During the pandemic, unfortunately donations have fallen sharply. There have been months where donations fell by 95%. ”
While acknowledging the financial difficulties that the directors of this entity are facing, President George Vella praised two aspects on which the work carried out by the people caring for the residents of Dar Arka is based: love and affection.
“I want to say – and this is without any exaggeration – that I was impressed that despite the smallness of the island of Gozo there is this organisation that is caring so dearly for those who are less fortunate than we are …. It is a fact that the situation we now find ourselves in has adversely affected anyone who has a collecting institution. I speak from my experience of the Community Chest Fund, and I know that whoever previously was able to give you a certain amount today can’t and I understand the situation. Still I urge those who are watching us to make a sacrifice and to know that everything they are giving to such organizations is money donated to a just cause. ”
President George Vella’s visit to Gozo continued with a stop at the OASI Foundation which focuses on the prevention and treatment of drug abuse, and at the agricultural village in Xewkija.