Unleashing the FIRE within

By November 19, 2018No Comments

Last week I had the honour of being invited to the 3rd Malta Social Impact Awards at Xara Lodge, Rabat. 

The Social Impact Awards is an exciting initiative for Malta that is organised by the Gasan Foundation and Insirasia Foundation. The event brings together companies and philanthropists wishing to offer opportunities for organisations and individuals to receive financial and non-financial support to develop and materialise a project that will lead to a positive impact for the Maltese Community. 

It was personally the first of these events that I had been to and I was curious to what I would discover.  Approaching the registration desk, I was given a warm welcome by the wonderful staff of Inspirasia Foundation, collected my voting card, brochure, glass of champaign and entered the room. 

I was blown away. 

I had never seen such a dynamic, energetic group of people in my life. The passion that each individual had, fired me up with enthusiasm that I have not experienced since arriving on the Island. 

The room was ‘divided’ into two groups; on my left were the 2018 shortlisted finalists and to my right, lasts year’s winners. Each finalist brought individual flair to their ideas. I was impressed by the creativity of each. The finalists were: 

  1. Allura Residency Programme
  2. Blooming Minds: Richmond Foundation & Birdlife Malta 
  3. R.U.S.H : Lifecycle Malta Foundation
  4. Project Uzu: #Zibel 
  5. Step Up for Parkinson’s 
  6. Growing Generations: Centru Tbex Bix

After meeting the respective teams and sharing thoughts, all participants were ushered into the conference room where the finalists had one last opportunity to pitch their ideas to budding investors and the judges. The passion that the speakers had was electric. One of which I was certain was about to cry. 

After the 6 finalists gave convincing speeches, the judges went off to discuss their thoughts and we continued our networking. This gave me the time to focus on last year’s winners. One of the projects called ‘Happy Children’ really impressed me. They created little ‘emotion cards’ which were used to teach primary school children about the importance of labelling their feelings in different situations. Without them knowing, the children were developing emotional intelligence skills and strengthening their knowledge about how others think and behave. 

Our CEO, Nathan Farrugia later presented a motivational speech about the power of ‘ikigai’. Ikigai’s literal translation is “a reason for being” and demonstrates the importance of understanding what lights your FIRE and gets you out of bed each morning. The term was made famous after researchers had discovered a small island of Japan called Okinawa which had the most people living above 100 than anywhere else. Apart from good eating habits and exercise, ikigai was their principle reason for living so long and well. 

It was a short, but powerful speech that left the finalists feeling empowered to grow their projects further. 

Next came the announcement of the winners.

After much anticipation the winners were: 

1st – Growing Generations; Centru Tbex Bix

2nd – Step Up for Parkinson’s

3rd – Blooming Minds: Richmond Foundation and Birdlife Malta. 

Centru Tbex Bix were also honoured by receiving the audience choice award. It was a pleasure to witness the joy that was expressed in the room as their goal to renovate their new building could finally be realised, which in turn will provide more opportunities to help those in need within the Cottonera area. 

The presentation evening was closed by Inspirasia and Iniala Founder, Mark Weingard. Mark’s eyes lit up when speaking about the winners of the awards and how important it was to continue lighting the FIRE for organisations in Malta. He also spoke of the need for more business leaders to come together and provide mentorship for the next generation to keep Malta sustainable and a country of givers. He also presented the official inauguration of the ‘Academy of Givers’. A new initiative to provide ongoing support to new business leaders and create a cohesion of collaboration among business professionals with the addition of awards given out during the year.

The night ended with celebration drinks for all who won and took part in the event. Each project were deserving winners and they should be very proud of what they have achieved so far and I am sure we will be seeing bigger things from them in the near future. 

With love and respect