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Caritas warns of ‘wounds’ inflicted on Maltese society

From poverty to drug abuse and loneliness, Malta's community spirit is being battered

Caritas director Anthony Gatt. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Caritas director Anthony Gatt. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The poverty gap, drug abuse, community breakdown and loneliness have been flagged by Caritas director Anthony Gatt as main difficulties faced by the Maltese.

Speaking on the 50th anniversary of the charity, Mr Gatt referred to realities, or Maltese society “wounds”, that Caritas could not keep quiet about.

“There are some who are doing well, however, people with a low income are suffering a lot.

“While there are a number of assistance measures in place, we believe that the well-off have to share with those who lack resources, so that no one would suffer,” Mr Gatt noted.

Malta was also experiencing family breakdown and a threat to its community spirit, he added.

We believe that the well-off have to share with those who lack resources

While the Maltese were generous with their fundraising and voluntary work, Caritas was concerned that values of compassion and care were under threat.

This was evident in the low number of youths who were willing to take up a social welfare career; in people’s disinterest in recycling; in the lack of time that children have for their elderly parents; and the lack of empathy among people who refuse to give up their bus seat to an elderly commuter, among others.

Mr Gatt, meanwhile, commended the work carried out by the law and order authorities, however he noted that the large amounts of drugs being seized was worrying. He questioned why more people were seeking out cocaine and cannabis.

“We all agree that prevention is better than cure, but we will continue to witness more damage if cannabis became legally accessible not for medicinal scope,” he said.

“Legalisation would make cannabis more popular and this worries us especially when it comes to adolescents.”

The Caritas Malta director named growing solitude as the fourth wound inflicted on Maltese society. The charity would be joining forces with the Faculty for Social Well-being to work on a campaign about loneliness.

Caritas Malta will also launch a #Caritasin50ways campaign, in which it will publish a video every week, for 50 weeks, with a message to Maltese society.

He said this year had been quite busy for Caritas Malta, which registered as a foundation to conform to local legislation, got a new director and revamped its logo and website.

Caritas Malta, which is celebrating “50 years on the side of people in need”, is one of more than 160 branches across the world. In Malta, Caritas was founded on November 11 in 1968, when the Caritas National Council was set up to co-ordinate and develop social assistance and charitable activities.

More information on www.caritasmalta.org.

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