On this year’s International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8th March, Executive Director and Company Secretary of Atlas Insurance Catherine Calleja marked the occasion by announcing that the insurance firm would be investing €60,000 in a programme helping women boost their employment and career opportunities by learning new skills.

Acting on her belief that “empowerment through education is an effectively proven tool to help vulnerable people out of their predicament”, Ms Calleja explained that Atlas “has developed a strategic approach to ensure that the money we give to the community is put to the best possible use.”

“Through this fund, Atlas is focusing on the specific areas where Malta is falling short of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Skill Up Project addresses the fifth SDG to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”

The Skill Up Project is run by FIDEM Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up in 2018 which provides support and empowerment opportunities to vulnerable people, particularly women, adolescent girls and children, across Malta and Gozo, through life-changing access to education and wellbeing guidance.

Atlas Insurance, through its Community Involvement Fund, is funding the Skill Up Project and will be investing €60,000 over two years in this project, which will also include the purchasing of IT equipment which will continue to be used by the programme well into the future.

The project includes several courses designed to impart useful skills as well as to empower women to take the lead in improving their lives by developing and strengthening their self-confidence and belief in their abilities.

These courses address subjects such as English language literacy, computer competencies and life skills. Participants in the project will be awarded recognised certification upon successfully completing individual courses, which eventually lead to a FIDEM Educate to Empower – Skill Up Certificate.

Ms Calleja stated: “The partnership with an experienced organisation such as the FIDEM Foundation ensures that the needs of vulnerable women are specifically targeted and addressed in order to provide participants with the optimal means to successfully complete the courses and improve their quality of life through self-development and better employment opportunities.”

Sabine Agius Cabourdin, FIDEM’s Founder, said: “The right to education is a basic human right recognised by various legal instruments, notably the UNCHR and further enshrined in the Maltese Constitution. Education raises men and women out of poverty, levels inequalities and ensures sustainable development. Unfortunately, not all of us are on a level playing field and many do not have access to education even though the infrastructure is there.”

In cognisance of the difficulties faced by vulnerable women, this project also takes into account the obstacles that would prevent prospective attendees from joining and completing the programme. In this respect, transport and childcare services will be offered along with the provision of all material required to follow the courses.

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