Fidem Foundation recently hosted the formal graduation ceremony for a group of 13 adult women who have just completed the NGO’s first ever Skill Up education programme.

Launched in summer 2023, the 12-month free course was specifically designed to help women bridge the education gap and empower them by giving them a definitive first push towards self-improvement.

The course was generously supported by Atlas Insurance Community Involvement Fund and covered English, leading to an MQF Level 3 certification (equivalent to an O-level), computer literacy and basic life and soft skills such as cooking and nutrition, mindfulness, money coaching, yoga, dance, theatre and self-defence.

Fidem Foundation not only provided the course programme and all materials for free, but also organised free transport to and from the Dominican Priory in Rabat where the lessons were held every Saturday morning as well as free childcare on site.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at Wignacourt Museum in Rabat this evening, Fidem Foundation founder Dr Sabine Agius Cabourdin said: “We created this education programme with the principal aim of ensuring that these women would find no barriers to accessing the education they so desperately wanted.”

“The right to education is a fundamental human right enshrined in our constitution. It is essential for individual empowerment, economic development, social and political participation, health and well-being. Ensuring access to education for all is crucial for creating a more just, equitable and prosperous society. Unfortunately, the reality is that even today in our country many still do not have access to education even though the infrastructure is there. Through Skill Up we wanted to eliminate all barriers to accessing that education,” said Dr Agius Cabourdin.

The women were almost all Maltese with ages varying from mid-20s to over 50. Some attended the course because they wanted to improve their English to increase their employment opportunities, while others because they never had the chance to finish their schooling properly because of difficulties at home. Two participants continued attending lessons even during their pregnancy, with one of them returning to class after giving birth bringing her baby with her.

The support for these women does not end here as Fidem will continue to mentor them as they find their way in life.

Catherine Calleja, executive director and Chair of the Atlas Insurance Community Involvement Committee said: “On behalf of Atlas, we are incredibly proud to witness the wonderful results of this initiative. Our support for the Skill Up programme fulfils our commitment to take action towards two key Sustainable Development Goals which revolve around inclusive and good quality education as well as gender equality and women’s empowerment. As the first programme comes to an end, we congratulate all the graduates on their hard work. I would also like to thank all the dedicated individuals at Fidem and volunteers from Team Atlas who have made this programme a true success.”

In autumn, Fidem will be starting the second Skill Up programme while continuing to support, assist and mentor vulnerable women through its Educate to Empower programme.

Applications for the second Skill Up programme will open shortly.

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