(from left) Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Aging, Justyne Caruana, Fr Martin Micallef and Mr Ignatius Farrugia.

Dr Justyne Caruana, Parliamentary Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing, inaugurated Dar Tal-Providenza‘s new home located in Żurrieq.

The respite has been christened Shalom, and will host five residents who will be aided by their live-in carers. This is the fourth addition to Dar Tal-Providenza’s homes, with Żerniq in Siġġiewi, Akkwarell in Qawra and Dar Pirotta in B’Kara.

In his welcoming speech, Fr Martin Micallef, director of Dar tal-Providenza, said that this home – which resides in a dignified environment that respects their rights – is being offered to persons with disability who wish to live in it. They have the right to live in the community, be part of it and participate fully in its daily life.

It is hoped that within the coming weeks, these residents will be identified in conjunction with Aġenzija Sapport. With this addition, Dar tal-Providenza will have a total of twenty-one patients enjoying this service within the community.

The opening of this home wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of the people of Malta and Gozo. Thanks to donations made during the Feast of Generosity, the Volleyball Marathon and other various initiatives, as well as personal donations that pour in on a daily basis, Dar tal-Providenza has been able to venture into this important and needed investment.

Fr Martin also thanked Dr Justyne Caruana for her unstinted support that resulted in the government binding itself to provide financial help for the next ten years, in order to sustain the individual service of support that the residents of Shalom will be needing.

Justyne Caruana spoke about the project, Soċjetà Ġusta, formed by the government to ensure that no one gets left behind or marginalised, including persons with disability. Through this project, the government is set to open ten homes in the community, the next one planned for Żabbar.

Present for the ceremony was Fr Cyril Axelrod, the first deaf Catholic priest. He was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome at the age of forty, which also led to the loss of his eyesight. Fr Cyril is in Malta to promote the publication of his autobiography, And The Journey Begins, translated into Maltese by Fred Bezzina. Fr Cyril, aided by his personal interpreter, spoke about his personal experiences and then presented Dr Justyne Caruana with a copy of his book.

The Episcopal Vicar for Diaconia, Mgr Charles Cordina, blessed the new home as well as the van that will be used by the residents. Other speeches were made by the Opposition speaker for the Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing, Mr Robert Cutajar and the Mayor of Żurrieq, Mr Ignatius Farrugia.