For the past 40 years
youth centre. After the successful fair, Christmas fairs were organised after that to raise money.
“We gave the money collected to charity, or helped people in need; we once bought a wheelchair for someone who needed it, another time we had sent a boy and his mother to Lourdes,” she said. Later on, other types of activities were organized, talks, seminars, cultural outings, visiting new presidents, trips abroad, craft sessions and so on, which now all feature on the club’s programme.
For many, the club is a chance to dress up, leave the house and socialize. On another level, its goals are fund-raising, doing good deeds and learning new things.
“Women have learnt how to speak up and ask questions”
Starting with just a handful of members, Għaqda Nisa Ġiljaniżi now is a family of 150 women, whose average age is between 60 and 70, but includes women who are in their forties to those who are in their nineties. Some of the original members have remained.
At first, the membership was open exclusively to women from St Julian’s, or who were born in St Julian’s, but nowadays is a second home to women from other localities, who come from as far as Zabbar.
Catherine has seen members come and go, and the role and empowerment of women change in the process. “Women have learnt how to speak up and ask questions,” she said. “In the beginning when we had speakers coming, no one used to talk or ask questions, but nowadays they all put their hands up to say something. I think women have also learnt to enjoy the company of others more; in the past women were more reserved.”
Members celebrated the club’s 40th anniversary with a Mass at Lapsi Church, followed by a reception at Villa Anna Theresa.