The Jesuits and Friends’ marathon team will be walking and running the Land Rover Malta Half Marathon and Walkathon to raise funds to break the barriers of illiteracy for 1,000 men and women in Malta.

Outgoing rector of St Aloysius College, Fr Patrick Magro, SJ, is running the full marathon, a gruelling 42-kilometre dash from Rabat to Sliema.

The funds raised will go towards the reproduction of the award-winning Iċ-Ċavetta Maltese Literacy Toolkit, which was developed by the Jesuit-run Paulo Freire Institute (PFI) to offer Maltese literacy aid to adults and young people between the ages of 16 and 60.

The toolkit will help people with low levels of literacy who are facing social exclusion and difficulties to access the labour market.

Originally part-financed by the EU’s European Social Fund, the original toolkits were distributed months ago and proved successful. This led to the decision by the director of PFI, Fr Vince Magri, SJ, for the reproduction of the kits, an upgrade of software and hardware required to deliver the training as well as the actual training of more tutors to offer the toolkit to more organisations who work in the field of illiteracy.

Why run a marathon to fund the project? Fr Magro explains: “People ask me why is it so important to be fit? What makes me get up early in the morning to pray, reflect and go jogging before starting a long day’s work? I believe that to be able to give my very best in life, I have to be fit – physically, emotionally and spiritually. All three are important and give me the strength and energy to live my life and vocation to the full and give the best service possible to the people I encounter every day.”

The participation in the marathon will be the first of a series of events in a campaign by the PFI to fund the project, which will cost €30,000.

Pauline Bartolo, coordinator of the Jesuits’ Development Office, said: “Our aim is to fund 1,000 toolkits, which will enable 1,000 adults or young people to read and write. The cost of the project is €30,000. This means it will cost just €30 to give this gift of literacy to each individual. It is a beautiful and invaluable gift which will open up a world of opportunities to so many individuals.”

Online donations may be made on; cheque donations may be sent to Paulo Freire Institute, Dar P. Ġuże Delia, SJ, 13th December Square, Żejtun, ZTN 1021; while money donations may be deposited into the institute’s BoV savings account 40015584173.

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