JD Farrugia, Programme Manager for Tal-Kultura, the Valletta2018 volunteers programme reflects on the beginning, and how far the programme has come in the last year with over 400 volunteers and 25 events under their belt.
It might sound like a cliche but volunteering changed my life. I first became an “active citizen” just over six years ago when I got involved in a number of different NGOs. I was never particularly active when I was younger and had no interest in volunteering. One day a friend asked me to join him for a meeting, I got involved and was hooked. It changed the way I looked at the world and at my circumstances. Volunteering showed me that I had the power to change things I wasn’t happy about, whether they were within society or in my personal life.
At the beginning of 2016 I joined SOS Malta as manager of Tal-Kultura, the volunteer programme for Valletta 2018. We launched Tal-Kultura in February 2016 and, in just a year, our team has grown to over 400 people who have been involved in over 25 different events and activities since May 2016. Every time a volunteer shares their enthusiasm about getting involved in the cultural programme I am re-energised. Especially when they tell me that their involvement in the programme is equipping them with new skills and has therefore expanded their prospects.
Tal-Kultura suddenly feels like a team or even a large group of friends who share a passion for the cultural sector in some way or other. I’ve started to observe volunteers meeting each other at events and greet each other like long lost friends. Malta needs active citizens across all sectors and I really believe that Tal-Kultura can strengthen Malta’s culture of volunteering well after 2018.
The coming year is going to be extremely important for Tal-Kultura as we gear up towards 2018 but I’m confident in the amazing volunteers we’ve already got on board and I’m excited to see just how much bigger our team will grow in the meantime.