The pandemic hit Malta hard but the Sovereign office has rebounded very quickly. Key to its success is the social calendar; we caught up with Steffi Young who sits on Malta’s Social Committee & CSR Committee. She told us about two events: the recent Ftira Day celebration and combined hike/picnic in aid of Camp Willingness

Steffi Young is Pensions Project Coordinator at Sovereign Malta and she takes her involvement in the Social & CSR Committees very seriously. First she explained the concept of Ftira Day.

Ftira (pronounced “Ftt-ira”) is one of Malta’s key culinary traditions and is only found in the islands. It is a type of sandwich (also locally known as hobz biz-zejt) made with several local ingredients. Ftira was recently included by UNESCO on its Intangible Cultural Heritage listing, joining other national traditions such as Irish harping and Belgian beer making.  Variations are argued over across the Maltese islands however ftira typically includes oil, tomatoes, tuna, butter beans and sheep cheese.

It is easy to forget that despite Malta’s rightly deserved reputation as a wealthy business centre, there is another side where too many people on the island are in dire need. Food banks are an important way to help and the Committee decided to host their own Ftira Day as part of Sovereign’s ongoing local food donation drive.

The Ftira Day celebration was one of the first few opportunities staff had to come together socially after the pandemic. A couple of staff did the shopping resulting in an impressive buffet enjoyed by all. More than half the entire office joined in the festivities.

Apart from enjoying ftira, staff were encouraged to donate foodstuffs to the Food Bank. Steffi commented how important it was to open the office to social events following the separation due to Covid over so many months. The highlight of the coming together was the charitable aspect for which Maltese people are rightly known. Steffi commented that this approach to helping the community whilst at the same time enjoying time together is typical in Malta.

The CSR Committee was set up last year but it was only in the early months of 2022 that momentum really started to build. The Committee has set itself a series of laudable goals ranging from looking after staff needs to wider community projects. Mental health needs, human & animal welfare and environmental responsibility are just some of its key aims.

Following the success of Ftira Day, thoughts turned to the next event which was held on the 9th of April. This took the form of a combined picnic and hike. A light one hour hike in the morning was followed by a family picnic. Being a weekend, the event was opened up to staff families, friends and even a few dogs. The event brought together over 50 people, and a further 40 people who could not attend on the day generously donated to the cause.

As well as being great fun, there was a charitable side to the day. Adults paid €10 each and the full amount collected is being donated to supporting Camp Willingness, a local summer school. The Camp seeks to help build children’s emotional intelligence and beyond. Students are taught about widely diverse issues such as empathy, self-care, the importance of teamwork and other social skills. Art is used as an important way for the educators to help the children hence it’s a perfect fit for the Sovereign Art Foundation initiative.

As plans now focus on events later in the year, Steffi speaks with pride about the hard working committee. Benefitting from diverse individual strengths it brings together staff and the community at large whilst promoting friendship in the workplace. Steffi says that “it is conducive to a coming together for staff and their families by complementing Sovereign’s own culture and values”.

These two events are impressive examples of what can be achieved for good causes and set a high standard for other offices to follow. Congratulations to Team Malta.

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