Christmas shopping is not a luxury everyone can afford.

But last week about 60 hard-up women from domestic violence shelters were guests at a Christmas party where they got to ‘shop’ for gifts provided by benefactors. Meanwhile, their children were kept entertained in another room.

The annual event was hosted by the Fidem Foundation at the Wignacourt Museum in Rabat. The women were referred by several shelters and organisations including Dar Qalb ta’ Ġesù, Dar Merħba Bik, Għabex and SOAR.

“These women are facing numerous challenges in their life and we wanted to celebrate their courage and resilience,” said Sabine Agius Cabourdin, the founder of Fidem Foundation.

“Many of them can barely afford their daily necessities so parties and gifts are a luxury beyond their means. Thanks to our generous sponsors, benefactors and supporters, we managed to give them a truly memorable Christmas celebration.”

The foundation is a non-profit organisation that provides support and empowerment opportunities to vulnerable people, particularly women, adolescent girls and children, through access to education and well-being guidance.

The NGO also organised a free online meeting on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for those feeling lonely.

For Friday’s party, the NGO assembled all the clothing that had been donated to them, set up a makeshift ‘shop’ and gave the women tokens to exchange for two items of their choice.

“The women loved the experience of ‘shopping’ for themselves, something that they consider a rare treat,” Agius Cabourdin said.

“And they especially appreciated the fact that their children were being looked after and entertained in a room next door while they could indulge in a bit of retail therapy, even though no real money was involved.”

She said that while many people took the pleasure of Christmas shopping for granted, others struggled to make it to the end of the month with their salary, their priority being to put food on the table.

On Friday, a woman who recently gave birth enjoyed choosing baby clothes for her newborn. By the end of the evening, the clothes racks were empty and the NGO invited the women to take any remaining items.

“The smiles on the women’s faces brought tears of joy to our eyes,” Agius Cabourdin said.

“We had one woman calling us the next day telling us how much she enjoyed trying on her new clothes while her child was still asleep. It’s these little things that make such a big difference.”

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.