31 Years of Continuous Activity
What is happening in Europe is happening at our doorstep. This was the message of OASI Foundation Chief Executive on the 31st anniversary of the Foundation.
The 26th of June is the International Day against Drugs, but this same date is also a special day for the OASI Foundation in Gozo. This year OASI celebrates its 31st Anniversary if its institution. To commemorate, on Saturday 25th June, a thanksgiving ceremony was held at the OASI Centre. Mr Noel Xerri, Chief Executive of OASI Foundation, and Mr Joe Borg from the Board of Directors awarded Mr Carmel Debono the OASI Foundation award, for his years of service towards OASI and society.
Mr Xerri, opened up this event remarking that throughout the past years a decrease in heroin use was noted followed by an increase of people being dependent on using cocaine. Additionally, an increase in females who seek help due to a dependency on alcohol was seen. Mr Xerri also mentioned that it is visible that there is no difference between Malta and Gozo and Malta and Europe and that the problem is real. Mr Xerri mentioned that also an additional therapy service offered by OASI Foundation for families consists of giving them the necessary skills as addiction also impacts the family. Mr Xerri made also reference to the fact that our society has a mentality that we only do what is good for us and this could lead to more problems. Mr Xerri closed his message by thanking all the entities, staff, and directors for their help and thanked all the beneficiaries that make use of this service.
Mr Joseph Borg, from the Board of Directors, talked about the journey that OASI Foundation went through these 31 years. He added that although it was not an easy journey thanks to the unity and trust between every staff member, volunteer, and the directors this was a success. He remarked about the importance of voluntary work and how this work helped and is vital for this sector. He also mentioned that voluntary work is one of the main things that gives him energy and satisfaction. Mr Borg also mentioned that voluntary work also gives hope and courage to those that are going through addiction and it is thanks to this collective work that a change is seen from a person who seeks help at OASI Foundation. He added that this is what helps the person be more resilient to face everyday challenges. He concluded by saying that as a country voluntary work should be given more importance and is more acknowledged. He concluded by thanking the staff and volunteers for their work.
Hon. Dr Michael Falzon, Minister for Social Policy and Children’s Rights in his message which was read by Mr. Joe Gerada remarked that resilience, commitment, and determinations are a few of the values which are seen in NGOs that help them keep on going. Hon. Dr Falzon also congratulated OASI Foundation on their anniversary and emphasized the fact that they not only offer support to people who are dependent but also are a ray of light and hope to their families.
Gozo Bishop Mons. Anton Teuma referred to Freudian studies to explain that people start to experience difficulties due to a lack of attachment which can then be seen in different ways. He also stated that although this is so and is considered a crisis in society no one should be trapped in a net where we put the blame and responsibilities on others. He also thanked Fr. Emmanuel Cordina for his initiative in opening OASI Foundation and thanked the staff that is now continuing on this initiative.
Hon. Dr Alex Borg commenced his message by questioning what are we doing as citizens to help fight against drug dependency. Furthermore, Dr Borg mentioned that more education is required to address this problem. He also remarked about the legalization of cannabis and that one shouldn’t refer to the usage of such a drug as recreational as it would lead to more problems.
Hon. Clint Camilleri, Minister for Gozo, mentioned the growth which OASI Foundation has made since it started operating and also remarked on the fact that as a Foundation it is dynamic and continued to develop. He also remarked that individual egoism in society is a problem that is visibly noted and that social media is impacting society. Hon. Camilleri closed this ceremony by congratulating OASI for their services.
Hon. Abigail Camillieri was also present for this ceremony.
Read full address by Mr Noel Xerri
Read full address by Mr Joe Borg
Read poem by Dr Alfred Grech read during this ceremony
Media posts by speakers addressing the audience:
Mr Joe Gerada
Hon. Clint Camilleri
Hon. Dr Alex Borg