As an organisation striving for a more just and equal society, we keep our finger on the pulse of like-minded movements seeking to promote the same vision. The work we do for youth and the homeless with discretion behind closed doors must be equalled by preventative measures in public to pull up social ailments at their roots.
With this in mind, 2002 saw a rather unique event organized by YMCA Valletta: 6 well-known Maltese personalities – Peppi Azzopardi, John Bundy, Xandru Grech, Andrea Cassar, Eileen Montesin, and Christine Haber – spent 24 hours ‘living’ on bunkbeds on Freedom Square in Valletta and conversing with pedestrians about homelessness in Malta. Donations were collected in order to be able to refurbish and open a second shelter with 44 beds. At the time, our organization was catering for 16 people, all women and children, in a residence that was designed to house a maximum of 10 people.
We also organized a 3-day Art Festival in solidarity with European Day Against Racism 2002. A local NGO network for the promotion of tolerance was also launched during this event – another first for Malta.
At the Attard Youth Centre, YMCA Valletta created a festival on the theme ‘Unity Without Frontiers…Fact or Fiction’. The event was based around a series of art workshops hosted by famous artists with an award for the best 6 works. Karaoke, spirituals, step dancing, aerobics and a free car wash rounded off the proceedings.
The 6th edition of the YMCA Valletta Festival featured a Human Table Soccer game based on foosball, but with human players instead of plastic ones! The festival also held a unique art exhibition called ‘CitySpaces’ where local artists transformed an old bordello into something magical.
And what raises awareness of social ills louder than a fleet of roaring motorcycles? 2002 gave us the fabulous Rebel Riders Brotherhood riding for the 7th time in service to the YMCA…