1. Description of Our Community
Malta is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea right next to Sicily. It has lots of things to offer such as beautiful beaches and many historical temples which are older than the pyramids and the ones in England. Besides we have the advantage of speaking the English language. The Maltese archipelago is made of five islands: Malta, Gozo, Kemuna, Kemunett and Filfla. Over its history many different peoples took control of Malta, like the Romans, the French and the English. Malta’s capital city is Valletta: it was built by the Knights of the Order of St. John. Malta is known for its rich ancient history and its lovely warm Mediterranean weather. Malta is considered as a quiet and safe island so it is a great place to live in. It is an overpopulated country. The population in Malta is approximately 367,000. Life is very peaceful. Most of the people are warm and welcoming. As St Paul, our patron saint, says, we are kind, friendly and generous. Although we are small in size we are enormous in friendship and kindness. That is why we have a number of associations which care for the needy like Sedqa, Caritas and the Hospice Movement.
2. Summary of Our Project
Mr Sultana and Mr Sciberras selected fifteen Year 8 Middle School boys, aged 12 and 13, and together we created a website on organisations which clearly respect Cyberfair 2002's motto: “Care and Unite”. We chose three organisations namely Caritas, Sedqa and Hospice Movement. We were split up into three groups. Each group had to tackle one of the organisations. We did research from encyclopedias, books, brochures - sent to us by these organisations - and we were also given the permission to use some information from their websites. To complete this project we visited the Hospice Movement in Balzan, Caritas in Rabat and Sedqa in Santa Venera. The Malta hospice Movement provides support and pain relief to people with cancer and motor neurone disease whereas Sedqa and Caritas deal mainly with rehabilitation from drug addiction and educate people on the devastating effects of drug abuse. We were very moved by the work of the volunteers and by what these good people do to help people sick with cancer, or people recovering from drug abuse in a rehab centre. Our Cyberfair Project is about kindness to others. We want to show how much the Maltese care for other people. We also want to let drug addicts, alcoholics, gamblers and people who suffer from cancer know that there are people who can help them and give them hope. We all have worked very much. Together we created three sections: one on Caritas, one on Sedqa and one on Hospice movement. Some of the information was found from the Internet, books and leaflets, but most of it came from direct interviews during our visits to these organisations.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
The students were given full access to one of the four PC Labs at school. This has a 20-station network with access to an ADSL Internet connection, printers and a scanner.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
In this project we encountered many problems: There were a few problems with boys not wanting to come every time we met. We had a bit of an argument and discussed it and so everyone – accept for one boy who never showed up – started coming again. The website at the beginning didn’t have enough information. Besides some of the words were very complex and to find their meanings to make them easier for younger children to understand was quite hard. There never seemed to be enough information until we visited the Sedqa, Caritas and Hospice Movement centres. Another problem was the arguments due to different ideas. Two boys even left our group. Luckily we could overcome all these problems. Another problem was lack of specific information. We had to miss quite a lot of breaks at school to continue working. Not all the boys were prepared to make this small sacrifice so a few left the group. In the end we put all the pieces together and achieved our goal. We couldn’t take any photos of the people who were in the rehabilitation centre and at Hospice for privacy reasons. A problem that wasn’t easy to overcome was translating the information from Maltese to English and putting all the information together. We took quite a while to compile all the information and we also came across some difficulties while making the website.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Some reactions of our Cyberfair team: *I felt that I have learnt a lot by visiting the Malta Hospice Movement, working in a team and on computers. It was a wonderful experience. *We had a lot of fun and learned that in a group you don’t always agree but it makes life much easier. *It was fun working in a group and the work was much easier when shared. *It gave us a new view of how people get involved with such addictions as drugs, alcohol and gambling, and how they can overcome this nasty problem and learn to get clean again. *Cyberfair has taught me that where there is hope there is light. There is always a solution with the help of others. *One of the things I learnt is that cancer is not contagious; I will never be afraid to be next to someone with cancer. People with uncurable disease should still treated with respect and find support.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Cyberfair is a great Project. It helped us learn more how to use the Internet, computers, scanners and how friendly the people at the Hospice Movement, Caritas and Sedqa are. This Project made us realise how to appreciate all people and we were amazed at the dedication of all the volunteers. It also taught us that all people are the same, being old, drug abusers and gamblers. It taught us about the care for other people. This Project helped us learn more about voluntary work and also about the needs of other people. We did our best to gather all the information. We learnt how to work in a team but we also worked to get information during our free time. We will find this Project useful in our future to take good care of our health. Besides we have learnt how dangerous drugs are. This Project taught us to stay away from drugs. It was such a sad thing to see men and women of such a young age being treated in a rehabilitation centre because of drugs when they should be out enjoying life. Life is good only if lived well and with good and trustworthy friends. Because of this Project we have learnt that all people are the same but face life in a different way. When we were invited to have tea with the people who used to take drugs in the beginning we were feeling a bit scared and out of place because we thought they might attack us or something. But when we talked to them we noticed that they are normal human beings. We learnt a lot especially from teamwork. We sacrificed all our breaks in order to finish our website but on the whole it was a wonderful and worthwhile experience. This Project helped to show us that there are people who are so kind even when they are not getting paid. It helped us all learn more about what goes on around us. We also learnt what people who have cancer can feel and now we also know how to make a website.