Through my System of Knowledge project, I got to work closely with Dar Ġużeppa Debono which is esteemed for its service given to single mothers and fathers alongside their family. The church-related organization also raises awareness on the value of life and on the importance of healthy relationships through a host of educational campaigns. However, throughout the years, the entity started to shift its focus to awareness campaigns about fertility-related issues as was the case with the launch of the Jiddispjaċini campaign.
The project revolved around the losses of infertility, abortion and miscarriage/still born and included various activities that targeted such losses as well as different categories of individuals. However, the central aim was that of creating a supportive system to these individuals. The 10 months long campaign was divided into various sections. The first week consisted of a number of meetings with those engaged in the project and other entities that were going to offer their contribution. The preparation phase also included the start of the marketing campaign and the creation of a referral system. The implementation of the activities started at the train the trainers phase where with the use of seminars and workshops new skills were given to the project team. This was followed by the production of the awareness campaign which was created by a group of professionals and volunteers and later passed on to a contractor who used the expertise to carry out the finest marketing campaign. One-to-One sessions were then offered to 10 couples, who were able to meet psychologists and therapists for 10 free of charge sessions. Specifically designed peer groups were also set up where individuals could find support and comfort in others who were experiencing similar losses. The project came to an end with a seminar which presented the results achieved through the project and policy recommendations. Further awareness was raised through a series of talks by key experts.
Although the project mainly targeted the parents that experienced one of the three losses, it also had a positive impact on the parent's family members and friends, on Dar Ġużeppa Debono and on the Gozitan and Maltese communities. In fact, besides making the parents feel assisted through the various services mentioned earlier, the project also helped family members to learn how to sympathize with parents who lost their child, therefore being able to create the necessary environment for them. This project also allowed the church-based entity to expand its service target making it more knowledgeable and experienced in assisting individuals who lost their child. Furthermore, the training given to the professionals and volunteers equipped them with the necessary skills, resulting in better delivery of services given to couples who are suffering a loss. This in turn will benefit society as with the proper assistance, the couples are able to overcome the trauma of experiencing one of the three losses, thus being able to continue with their aspirations in life. The awareness campaign also had a multiplier effect on the general public, by increasing knowledge on the three losses.
I believe that this project was highly efficient especially when it came to raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with the three losses. In fact, it allowed me to grow academically and personally as I gained more insight on these topics, in turn making me more sensitive to individuals who experience losses. Finally, I cannot not mention my admiration towards all of those who partook in the project, as through their hard work they refined the innovative services offered by the voluntary sector.
- Maria Attard
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