Dar il-Kaptan, the foundation for respite care services, has this year won the Dun Mikiel Azzopardi Award, as a sign of recognition and appreciation by Dar tal-Providenza for the respite’s work and commitment towards the community since its inception on the 10th November, 1991.
This was announced by Fr Martin Micallef, director of Dar tal-Providenza, during a concert at the Mdina Cathedral by the Band of the Armed Forces of Malta, under the distinguished patronage of H.E. the President of the Republic, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and H.G. the Archbishop, Mgr. Charles J. Scicluna. Mr Marcel Pisani received the award on behalf of Dar il-Kaptan.
Dar il-Kaptan allows for families that have a person with disability to receive regular rest. The philosophy behind it is to help these families to continue taking care of the disabled person within a family framework in the community, thus avoiding the need for them to enter an institution. This year, Dar il-Kaptan was the Maltese choice for the European Citizen Award. The European Parliament gives this honour to fifty people or organisations from amongst the twenty-six countries of the EU for their contribution towards cooperation in Europe, as well as for their promotion of common values.
Earlier, Fr Martin Micallef highlighted that this year, the United Nations is commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Convention for Rights of Persons with Disability. The purpose of this Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Malta had ratified and enacted this on the 9th November 2012, and is presently in the stage of its incorporation in the Laws of Malta, so that the rights of persons with disability will continue to be protected and strengthened in every way possible.
The main speaker was Annabelle Xerri, who had become deaf at the age of six, and who was awarded The Queen’s Young Leaders Award last June from amongst forty-five Commonwealth countries. She said that this year, one of the historic moments for the deaf community was when the Maltese Parliament approved the law that officially recognises the Maltese Sign Language as an official language for Malta. This means that the Maltese Sign Language will be more present in our society and in the culture of Malta and Gozo. The deaf community will have more accessibility, more opportunities and more choices in life. She took the opportunity to thank those who in some way or other believed in her, gave her a voice and opened for her a lot of doors with the opportunities they afforded her with.
Image above: sign language
President, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said that Annabelle showed what can be done when there’s will and determination, and how much beauty there is in the diversity of abilities.
The Band of the Armed Forces of Malta was under the direction of Mro WO1 Jonathan Borg. The musical programme included works by Nino Rota, John Stevens, Rachmaninoff, Ottorino Respighi, Hay Malotte, John Williams, Handel, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Paolo Nani and Bdr Twanny Bugeja. The AFM Band was accompanied by the Coro Bel Canto.
The concert was organized by RTK 4 Charity-Dar tal-Providenza, with the co-operation of the St. John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation.