The Youth of the Year Award 2013 organised by the Kerŷgma Movement was awarded to Bernard Borg from Birkirkara. The award, which is sponsored by APS Bank, was announced by Fr. Charles Fenech OP, the Director General of Kerŷgma Movement. A Special Mention was also given to Christopher Barbara from Santa Lucia for the voluntary work he carries out to improve the lives of people with diabetes.
His Excellency Dr. George Abela, President of Malta, presented the trophy at the end of a mass which was celebrated at St Dominic’s Church, Rabat on Friday 31 January 2014. Also present at the ceremony were the Chairman of the Selection Board, Notary Joseph Abela, the Chairman of APS Bank Limited, Prof. Emanuel P. Delia and the President of Kerŷgma Movement, Mrs. Tania Borg among other guests.
Bernard Borg is a 25 year old university student from Birkirkara. Bernard has been active in voluntary field for many years. For the past 7 years he has been working continuously with the Sisters of Mother Theresa in Malta. Indeed, he underwent several experiences helping out the nuns in their work. This year, Bernard discussed with the ” Regional ” and ” Superior ” Sisters of Mother Teresa to set up a Group of Co-Workers in Malta. Co-workers is a group which was set up by Mother Theresa herself whereby youths are called upon to commit themselves to a life closer to that of the sisters. There is already a good number of youths who have in fact joined this group and thanks to Bernard’s initiative, young Maltese vounteers enjoy closer spiritual experiences with the sisters of Mother Theresa.
Through another of his initiatives Bernard revamped a group that used to hold monthly evenings of entertainment for families and elderly who are in the care of the sisters of Mother Theresa. Through these social activities, people in the community are spending some leisure time with the young volunteers and thus creating an atmosphere of friendship.
Bernard was this year again part of Viva Children’s Summer where for the past 5 years, along with a group of other volunteers, they organize a five-week Summer School for children who are in the care of the sisters of Mother Theresa. During these five weeks the volunteers live in the nuns’ home, where they prepare the activities for the children, strengthen the community, and grow in the spirituality of the Sisters with a regular time for prayer, daily Mass and adoration. This year Bernard was personally responsible for this activity and together with other youths organized a number of fundraising activities, transport planning, school logistics, food for the children and the many other preparations such activities entail.
During this summer, Bernard also went to Ethiopia where for five weeks he worked with the Sisters of Mother Theresa and other organizations and thus continued to build upon the experiences he lived in Malta with the same sisters. While in Ethiopia he helped out in the Home of the Dying, with the activities for the orphan children, distributed food to the poor, helped in the nuns’ hospital, and in a children’s summer school. He also carried out maintenance work both at the hospital and at the school.
This year Bernard also embarked upon different experiences to help others. About a year ago he joined the group S.T.A.N.D. (Striving Towards Ability Not Disability). This group gives youngsters with disabilities the opportunity to a social and spiritual experience within the community. Bernard integrated immediately with the members of this group, whether they were people with disabilities, parents or helpers. He was nominated and elected by members of the group to form part of the executive committee where his role is that of fundraising activities organiser.
Bernard is studying Social Work at the University and used to also make part of his course’s official student organisation SĦS – Studenti għall-Ħarsien Soċjali. Currently Bernard is also helping out in the Marsa Open Centre. Bernard takes a lot of initiative and his intense work is always done in silence and for the benefit of others.
The nominees for this year’ Award were: Antonella Bajada from Munxar, Christopher Barbara from Sta. Lucia, Bernard Borg from Birkirkara, Rebecca Cini from Balzan, Louis Cutajar from Fgura, Amanda Galea from St Venera, Matthew Gellel from Vittoriosa, Ryan Magro from Qrendi, Joseph Mizzi from Gharb, Elisa Saliba Saliba from Floriana and Saralina Savo from Pieta’.
This trophy is awarded every year in honour of the late Dr Rudolph Saliba who was Kerygma Movement’s first president. President Abela congratulated the winner and all the other nominees and stated that not only did their voluntary work not hamper their studies or work but such voluntary work in fact strengthened their character. Also a number of them not only used their time and talents to help family and friends locally but they widened their circle beyond our shores giving support and help to others in need, without any prejudices. These youndsters continued to show how generous the Maltese people are.
Prior to the award giving ceremony the President of Malta also presented a Special Mention to Gianluca Bezzina for the example he set to society and the world at large based on christian values.
Photos: Robert Soler