We are happy to announce our new membership with the Malta Federation of Organizations Persons with Disabilities (MFOPD). MFOPD is the national umbrella organisation for the disability sector and is a member of the European Disability Forum (EDF), Inclusion Europe, Inclusion International and the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL). It also represents the voice of persons with disability on the relevant government structures, such as the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD), the Malta EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC) and the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), among others. MFOPD does its utmost to support all issues brought forward by its member organisations. It is civil society’s mouthpiece for persons with disability on a national level and is fully represented within the relevant structures of government and administration as the official voice in question. MFOPD is constantly involved in national and European events linked to issues that impact persons with disabilities and is a constant watchdog on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability locally.
MFOPD has, throughout the years, embarked on various initiatives, both locally and abroad, in favour of persons with disability. Since its foundation in 1970, MFOPD has been instrumental in:
- Ensuring that society in general understands and upholds the rights and needs of persons with disability and to ensure that past stigmas, misconceptions and outright injustices and lack of social, economic, cultural and political integration for persons with disabilities remain a thing of the past.
- That the government authorities focus much more effort on the rights and needs of persons with disability. MFOPD’s lobbying has been noted by the authorities and, gradually, from a department responsible for the ‘handicapped’, government institutions were progressively set up which included a Parliamentary Secretariat focused on our needs, a Commission and a Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the total independence and focusing of the specific government agency working in the disability sector, the enactment of various laws, regulations and legal notices focusing on the rights and needs of the disability sector and the presence of specific board and authority members within government agencies and institutions which represent the disability sector within civil society.
Naturally, there is so much more to be done in our field. The rights and positive advancement of the disability sector in Malta can only be achieved by a strong national disability federation which works hard for the rights of its members, not only by means of local initiatives but also by means of various projects, including EU funded projects, which further our cause.