Jeanesse Abela

Name Surname: Jeanesse Abela

Country: Malta

City: Msida

Nationality: Maltese

Sector: NGO

Position: Founder/ Support Group

After completing my secondary education, I started working with Maltacom as a clerk. I’ve been with the same company, now GO plc for 20 years. I form part of the Human Resorces Department and amongst other things I am in charge of data input in relation to training organised for the employees. On the workplace I strive to focus on my professional development and constantly attend training courses and take on new tasks whenever possible.

My idea was to set up an NGO focusing on the socialisation of youths with a disability.

The Living Ability Not Disability Group, LAND, was established in August 2002 by myself, Jeanesse Abela, at the time a youth with a physical disability and my friend Michelle Cilia nee Farrugia. I was fortunate enough to always have had many friends with whom I could go out with and enjoy a healthy social life. However not all disabled youths had such supportive friends and I therefore wanted other disabled youths to have the same opportunities to go out and socialise like any other youth. Initially the Group was a sub-committee of the National Society of Parents with Disabled Persons, but in July 2005 at an Annual General Meeting of the National Society of Parents with Disabled Persons LAND Group emerged as an independent non-profit organisation with a statute of its own and was officially recognised by the National Commission of Persons with a Disability. This was when my dream became a reality.

The objectives of the social activities organised by LAND are educational, aiming to enhance the independence of physically disabled people and above all to promote inclusion through mainstream socialisation. This group is the only one of its kind and it has always been well received by young people with a disability who more often than not lack the socialisation aspect in their lives. The level of cooperation with third parties whenever an activity is organised is always very good and the majority of suggestions are well received and take place as planned.

The main threat which our Group faces are the limited number of helpers available to assist the members during activities. Helpers are volunteers and in this day and age it is not that easy to find people who are able to commit their time to attend all our activities. Since we are an NGO we also depend on donations and fundraising activities to be able to pay for costs related to the organisation of our activities. Our most significant expense is transportation as for each activity we need to hire special lifter vans which are rather expensive.