Wednesday, 18 June 2008

YMCA: Two Thumbs Up!

I have just finished reading an article that was published on the Times of Malta during the first week of June (01/06/2008). It seems that the Sunday edition of the paper is devoting some space to a number of individuals who have benefited very much from the care provided by the YMCA staff.

I decided to visit the website of the YMCA branch in Malta. While going through the site's contents, I totally agreed with the part which said "Malta is often referred to as a 'happy island', with a pleasant, mediterranean, sunny lifestyle. But for some people, this is only a distant dream. Their reality is dramatically different. " The site's "Untold Stories" section provides a sample of the chilling hardships that several individuals might face in this country when they find themselves in certain situations.

Living on a small island where the individualist cult appears to be increasingly popular, I could not help feeling the greatest level of admiration towards all the YMCA staff who do not hesitate to give their utmost to transform the frowns of the individuals they work with into smiles. It is so nice to notice that there are still some people in this country who cannot rest when they know that there are other human beings who might be homeless, involuntarily unemployed, sick, or facing tremendous hardships.

Although organisations such as the YMCA surely deserve the proverbial "two-thumbs up", their resources are fairly limited. I believe that the Maltese government should be doing much more to safeguard a number of rights in this country. The right to a job, the right to a decent home, the right to have easy and free access to health care services...these are all fundamental rights that every government should safeguard so that no person ever has to face the various horrors witnessed by the YMCA staff.

The government affirms that it does have a number of schemes to help those citizens whose plight requires emergency assistance. One of these schemes consists of the social assistance (relief) that unemployed people could apply for. Whoever bothers to investigate the weekly amount of money that these individuals receive would be shocked when comparing that amount to the sum of money that is necessary to cover several survival costs. In 2005, I remember that a single person would receive around Lm34 (EUR 79.19) per week whereas a married individual would receive around Lm39 (EUR 90.84) per week. I strongly doubt that the government has increased these weekly benefits to a level that reflects the current average weekly survival expenses. Of course, it is better to have something rather than nothing, but those amounts are clearly an insult to those who are dealing with a huge amount of psychological pain as they struggle to live a decent life.

Let us hope that the present government will do more to help those in need. In the meantime, I hope that organisations such as the YMCA will continue to represent a strong guiding light to all those people who feel trapped in the dark.


1 comment:

GleGer said...

Great post comrade! Nies li jahdmu f'ghaqdiet bhal YMCA haqqom kull tifhir u ghajnuna! Rigward il-hlas li l-gvern jaghti persuna li tkun 'unemployed', naqbel mieghek li mhux reali meta mqabbel mal-'cost of living' f'pajjizna! Biss awn hafna min qed jabbuza wkoll! Jien nemmen li l-gvern ghandu jhallas persuni li jkunu 'unemployed' paga bazika, izda minflok jahdmu jibghat li dawn il-persuni fi skejjel apposta biex itejjbu l-abilitajiet taghhom.