Maltese Students to have better access to Permanent Counsellors in Schools

Naxxar Middle School students struggling with life’s challenges will start benefitting from psycho-social support after the Malta Trust Foundation secured €45,000 for its Blossom project that focuses on providing permanent counsellors in schools.

An agreement was signed today between the Deloitte Foundation, the Maria Regina College and the Malta Trust Foundation to secure the services of a counsellor at the school over the next three years.

This follows Blossom’s successful venture introduced at the St Paul’s Bay primary school nearly four years ago where two counsellors — funded by private entities — have since offered support to more than 400 children.

Trust president Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca told Bay that “The scope behind Blossom is to secure the provision of counselling services in schools to empower children and bolster them with the skills to face life’s challenges through psycho-social support. This is a long-term investment in the child’s future.

“It is only through the commitment and sponsorship of private entities and companies intent on investing in their corporate social responsibility dimension that projects such as Blossom can exist. And it is immensely rewarding to see this venture today extend to Naxxar Middle School.”

The Trust’s scope is to add value to existing services, and by working hand in hand with the school’s administration, teachers and LSAs, three counsellors were eventually recruited to help the St Paul’s Bay primary school students, their parents and even administrative staff navigate through the psychological issues they encountered.

This is not possible without the financial support of private companies, such as Deloitte Malta, which recently set up the Deloitte Foundation – a non-profit voluntary organisation – as part of its ongoing commitment to make an impact in society. Its goals are to support initiatives under four main pillars: quality education, environmental sustainability, cultural heritage and societal impact.

Marc Alden, Deloitte Malta CEO, said “Deloitte is a purpose-led organisation – and our aim is to have an impact that matters on our clients, our people and on society. As our business grows and evolves, we feel a stronger need to live our purpose and to contribute to our local communities by leveraging on our skills, knowledge and resources. It is through projects such as this one that we are able to bring our purpose to life. We are very proud to be collaborating with The Malta Trust Foundation on this initiative, and are looking forward to the positive results, we are confident the project will reap.”

Ms Carmen Galea, one of the counsellors at St Paul’s Bay, appealed to education authorities to invest more in this area and ensure every school had its own permanent counsellors so that no child’s education was hindered because they failed to find the help they needed.

Children struggling with their parents’ hostile separation was a recurring issue where students sought help because they were seeing their life crumble and being torn apart from the two people they loved.

“Guidance teachers help, but this goes beyond a child’s academic concerns. The Blossom project is fulfilling the psychological needs of children and ensuring they have a wholesome education… I just wish we could extend this to every school,” she said.

Ms Josette Dalmas, who was headmistress at St Paul’s Bay primary for over eight years, said the counsellors funded by Blossom were her lifeline in dealing with behavioural issues as well as traumas of migrant students who had been uprooted from their homeland with no transition, often leaving their toys, belongings, extended family and friends behind.

“It’s been encouraging to now see students come forward and seek the counselling service themselves. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a smile resurface on a child’s face or getting a thank-you hug. The counsellors have been nothing short of excellent. I wouldn’t have been able to lead the school without them.”

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