One of the foundations of the Ignatian education provided at St Aloysius College is the formation of ‘men and women for others.’ To this end, every year, the Primary School’s staff and students are involved in a week of special activities organised by the Chaplaincy, revolving around the importance of reaching out to others.
This year’s theme was Embrace: the Others, the Earth and the Poor. During these challenging times, lacking the warmth of the physical ‘embrace’, the objective was to find ways to reflect on and concretely help others, while growing in unison with the Earth which sustains and nurtures us. In the final scholastic term, the focus was on the poor; this time not those in faraway lands, but those who are close to home. During this special week, held between the 10-20th May, every class reached out to a different parish around Malta, through a collaboration with the Caritas Parish Djakonija Network.
Watch the video to learn more:
Reaching out had a two-fold aim, with awareness being the first: the reality is that we often just don’t realise that the poor are around us. All it takes is a look down one’s street, and one is bound to discover a poverty story, which is sadly not uncommon. As explained by Mr Anthony Mifsud, Primary School Chaplain:
‘Our students stood in awe when they realised that a flight of 83 steps could actually isolate an old lady in her home because it is too taxing for her to run an errand. Others realised the hardships of foreigners on their journey towards integrating in the local community.’
Awareness was also raised, via virtual sessions with the students, about the many volunteers involved in this Djakonija Network, who generously offer their time. All this made them realise the sad reality of poverty, and inspired them to turn this awareness into positive action. Boxes of foodstuffs were collected, with some students creating their own cards of encouragement addressed to the poor, old, lonely and immigrant families; and others designing posters of awareness of these realities to be shared in the community.
Mr Albert Debono, Director of the Caritas Djakonija Network, shares a little about the importance of such a collaborative initiative:
‘For the Djakonija Unit at Caritas – and I know I also speak on behalf of the various participating parishes – this was indeed an opportunity to raise awareness in our communities about our shared responsibilities with schools and the younger community members. We want to sincerely thank all the students, teachers and staff, who not only made this possible but also asked and showed sincere interest in the efforts of our parishes towards the needy. Your support is indeed of great encouragement towards a more socially-just society we all ultimately aspire to and work for!’
On the last day of this memorable week, a wall (featured above) was built using the boxes of foodstuffs which were later distributed to the various parishes, together with the personalised cards and messages lovingly prepared by the students (collage featured below).
One of our students, Jake, sums up the spirit and value of this special week:
‘Seeing all the boxes filled up with everyday needs fills me with happiness and reminds me how many people are generous and willing to help others less fortunate. Embrace the Poor Week taught me how, by donating small things, can make a big difference to the lives of many families.‘
St Aloysius College’s Primary School proactively seeks to connect with and support the local community. Last year’s theme, Journeying Together, focused on the beauty of working and living together in the best way possible. During ‘We Care Week’, students and staff came together to experience ‘journeying’ through acting for others.
Interested to join Caritas Parish Djakonija Network’s efforts this summer? Fill out the form on djakonija.org.