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Raising funds for the homeless

It will be a sweaty, somewhat unsanitary, and long-drawn-out event for 17 personalities who have opted to go "homeless" for 30 hours to raise money for the homeless.

The individuals, all linked to the media, have volunteered to camp out overnight in Freedom Square, Valletta, between Friday and Saturday.

The event is another initiative undertaken by YMCA to raise awareness and much-needed funds for its Valletta Homeless Project.

The project will cost some Lm70,000 and is expected to welcome its first guests later this year.

YMCA chairman Jean Paul Mifsud is determined to drive the message home that there are no fewer than 300 homeless people in Malta.

Few are aware of the thousands of liri needed to provide a support network for these individuals, many of whom are women and children.

The government injects some Lm6,000 a year into YMCA, a sum less than the operational budget, according to Mr Mifsud.

Xarabank presenter Peppi Azzopardi said that something that struck him during a similar event last year was the number of people who believed that the homeless were squarely to blame for their plight.

Speaking about the event, Mr Mifsud said this time the personalities will be asked to take nothing with them to experience how a homeless person lives.

Last year, the personalities were permitted to take toiletries or personal belongings. This time, they will have to rely on the generosity of passersby!

Those that have volunteered to take part in the event are Andrea Cassar, Annalise Ellul, Brendan Borg, Christine Haber, Clare Agius, Eileen Montesin, Gianni Zammit, Peppi Azzopardi, Joe Tanti, John Bundy, Kurt Castillo, Mariella Scerri, Nathal Attard Bayliss, Rachel Vella, Ray Calleja, Rosanne Zammit and Xandru Grech.

Maltacom is supporting the event through dedicated lines for anyone wishing to make a donation. Those wishing to make a Lm3 donation may call 5004 9493, for a Lm5 donation call 5004 9495, and for a Lm10 donation call 5004 9490. The lines will be open for two weeks.

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