Young People’s Disability Rights Forum
The YPDRF brings together youth with disability who have various skills and interests in life, with the intent to highlight barriers experienced by the younger generation and their aspirations. Furthermore, this Forum aims to empower these youth to become young advocates for disability rights and beyond.
Angela Bettoni is a young writer and actor with Down’s Syndrome who has been living in Malta since 2013. Angela finished her schooling at St Martin’s College with six O Levels, followed by an Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts from MCAST Mosta. She is currently following the BA in Performing Arts at MCAST part-time. Angela has four self-published books sold in aid of charities, which are available on Amazon. She has been part of the Opening Doors theatre group for adults with disabilities, where she also writes a regular blog called ‘No Assumptions, please’ (https://openingdoors.org.mt/blog/member-contributions/). She is also a member of the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network (CCYDN) (https://includemetoo.org.uk/ccydn/) and was selected as a new Executive Committee Member for 2021-2023. She is passionate about inclusion, especially in the performing arts.
Blaine Schembri is 26 years old, lives in Cospicua, and was diagnosed with autism at the age of seven. He has been working in the disability sector for over eight years. Over the past year, Blaine has followed a course at the University of Malta titled: Community Access for Disabled Persons.
Blaine wants to further his studies in this sector, as his goal is to contribute towards and improve the disability sector in Malta.
Maja is a 21-year-old S6 Maltese paralympic swimmer who specialises in freestyle and backstroke. She forms part of the Exiles Sc and currently trains around 12 times a week, nine times in water and three times on land. During her swimming career she took part in various national and international competitions. In 2019, she qualified for the London World Para Swimming Championships and qualified for the World Paraswimming European Open Championships in Madeira in 2021 where she placed eighth in the final. In 2021, she also took part in Berlin World Series where she broke a number of personal and national records, placing third in the 200-metre freestyle, winning a bronze medal.
My name is JeanFred Agius, I am 20 years old and currently reading a degree in Psychology. I love keeping fit, learning about fitness, drawing and discussing mental health.
I am also the founder of the Facebook group DIS/ABILITY.
Joann Spiteri is a Deaf person. Her family members are also Deaf. She is proud to be Deaf and has overcome a number of challenges in her life but feels that such challenges are always learning experiences.
She is currently a board member of the Deaf People’s Association Malta and has recently helped to re-establish the Deaf Youth Association Malta.
Mel is a 27-year-old person with ADHD. They are currently in their final year of Gestalt Psychotherapy, after successfully graduating as a social worker from the University of Malta, after which they spent the past five years working directly with individuals battling addiction.
Mel is interested in intersectionality, particularly how gender and disability affect different aspects of one’s life and experiences. Mel is involved in various voluntary organisations, mainly ADHD Malta as a committee member, and JCI Malta, an international youth-led leadership organisation. Mel believes strongly in the power of humour, and utilises humour in their work with others.
Born in 2005, Samuel Farrugia was diagnosed with cancer at 21 months old. By the time he was eight years old, the cancer had caused him to go fully blind. Following several years of uncertainty, Samuel is now an aspiring author and he is working on his first volume of science-fiction and horror short stories, with a number of competition entries under his belt. He has also taken part in three consecutive pantomimes in the dark as well as a performance solely composed out of visually impaired persons.
Melissa is 17 years old lives in Zabbar. She is a student at MCast. Melissa is Deaf and uses Maltese Sign Language to communicate. She practices swimming and plays the piano.
Liam is 19 years old. He practices football with Special Olympics Malta and also enjoys swimming and sports as well as drawing and at. Liam also forms part of visualnonvisualnetwork.org where he creates ceramic pieces.
Rosaline is 25years old and loves swimming, animals, and cooking. Rosaline, who has Down’s Syndrome, currently works at Casa Antonia as a waitress, serving food and drinks to the residents.