For the past 40 years

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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