International Women’s Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. In the lead up to this annual appointment, Bank of Valletta put the spotlight on three non-profit making organisations that support vulnerable women.

 

Speaking about this initiative, Charles Azzopardi who heads the Bank’s CSR function within the Bank explained that the Bank is an organisation employing over 2,000 employees, where almost 60% of the workforce is female, and where most employees have daughters, wives and/or sisters they care deeply about. “In addition to supporting our people by ensuring equal opportunities, the Bank also supports work-life balance, family-friendly measures and leadership courses. This year, we sought the support of female representatives from the Bank’s top management to shine a light on three NGOs that support vulnerable women in our communities, in spite of the challenging circumstances they would be facing. For us, this is as important as extending a helping hand through monetary donations to help them further their mission.”

 

Izabela Banas, Chief Finance Officer at BOV, visited the Women’s Right Foundation (WRF), a volunary organisation committed to championing women’s legal rights through education and empowerment. She was greeted by Dr Lara Dimitrijevic, a member of the Board of Directors who gave an overview of the Foundation’s ongoing projects. They discussed the hardships some women are facing in today’s society, a reality that highlights the important role played by WRF in its efforts to ensure that women’s rights are protected through policy and law reform.

 

Dr Dimitrijevic commented that “our Foundation works closely with women who have experienced gender-based discrimination, including domestic violence or femicide. We focus on pushing for reform in policies aimed at protecting women and their rights, a role that is sometimes met with public backlash.” She went on to say that for the WRF, a success story is one where a woman walks away with her children, safe from harm and able to have a second chance at a healthy and full life. Whilst commending Dr Dimitrijevic for the Foundation’s work and success, Ms Banas said, “at times we forget that today we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, fighting for rights that we now tend to take for granted. As a society we need to continue pushing to narrow the gender gap.”

 

The second organisation visited was Dar Merhba Bik, an organisation run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, who work with women who have fallen victim to domestic violence. Ms Elaine Vassallo Pavia of Dar Merħba Bik welcomed Ms Elena Dourou, BOV’s Group Chief Internal Auditor, at one of their shelters. She said that “a family would normally spend around six months at Dar Merħba Bik, where those in need, whether adults, seniors or children, are provided with the psycho-social services they need, including counseling and therapeutical support to help them live their life beyond the trauma of domestic abuse.” She went on to explain that once this program is completed, the family moves to a 12-month program at Dar Santa Bakhita where it is given semi-independent accommodation as it is slowly reintegrated into the community, helping it find alternative accommodation and employment. The shelter has the capacity to accommodate up to 17 families.

 

“This experience was truly a reality check for me,” said Ms Dourou immediately after her visit. “It was overwhelming to see both the cruelty certain women are facing, as well as the level of altruism extended by this NGO. It may sound like a cliché, but it is a classic case of women pulling women to stand on their own two feet again, making a better life for themselves and their young families.”

 

The last NGO participating in this initiative was Fondazzjoni Sebħ, where Ms Yvonne Mallia, Director of Fondazzjoni Sebħ and Ms Kerry Hermitage, Family Services Senior Manager welcomed Mr Charles Azzopardi at Il-Milja. This NGO provides residential services to female survivors of violence and their children, as well as a community service offering support to individuals and families. Mr Azzopardi was given a tour of the residential home that offers an element of independence to the families seeking refuge. Ms Mallia explained that at the same time, these homes act as communities where vulnerable persons feel safe sharing their experiences and supporting one another. The financial support offered by the Bank as part of this initiative is earmarked to complete a spirituality room that residents can visit for reflection as spirituality is an integral part of the recovery process. The spirituality room will cater for different cultures and religious beliefs.

'Credit & Financial Institutions' Related News Articles

01
NATURE TRUST AND BANK OF VALLETTA UNVEIL ‘WHAT IS THAT ANIMAL?’ – MALTA’S FIRST LOCAL FAUNA FIELD GUIDE
Bank of Valletta

by Bank of Valletta

2nd June 2024

The European Union Global Minimum Level of Taxation for Multinational Enterprise Groups and Large-Scale Domestic Groups Regulations 2024
CSB Group

by CSB Group

5th April 2024

Bank of Valletta has supported this year’s opera by Gioachino Rossini – ‘Armida’
Bank of Valletta

by Bank of Valletta

18th March 2024

Changing the terms of a credit agreement and forbearance policies and measures: new obligations on lenders in consumer and residential property credit agreements
Ganado Advocates

by Ganado Advocates

23rd February 2024

The HSBC Malta Foundation supports Three-Year UM Research Project through RIDT
HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.

by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.

19th February 2024

BOV RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION FEATURING WORKS BY NOEL GALEA BASON OFFICIALLY INAUGURATED
Bank of Valletta

by Bank of Valletta

17th January 2024

Goal-line Defenders: Scoring Victory Against Financial Crime with the Three Lines of AML/CFT Defence
CSB Group

by CSB Group

12th January 2024

Agreement reached on the establishment of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (“AMLA”)
Ganado Advocates

by Ganado Advocates

3rd January 2024

FIAU Thematic Review on Company Service Providers when providing Company Formation Services
Ganado Advocates

by Ganado Advocates

3rd January 2024

Directive 93/13/EEC and mandatory statutory or regulatory provisions in consumer contracts
Ganado Advocates

by Ganado Advocates

3rd January 2024

MiCA Update: Consultation Process on the Proposed Updates to Chapter 3 of the VFA Rulebook
Ganado Advocates

by Ganado Advocates

1st November 2023

Continuing to disclose the topic EU funding for Startups ¦ Startup Definition
Griffiths + Associates Ltd

by Griffiths + Associates Ltd

31st October 2023