Inspire draws on 38 years of experience from two of Malta's leading NGOs working in the field of disability. The Eden Foundation and the Razzett tal-Hbiberija consolidated all their operations as of the 1st of January 2009 with one sole aim and mission: to provide a holistic range of programmes and services to children and adults with disability, and to champion their inclusion and equal opportunities in society.
Today, Inspire addresses the educational, therapeutic, social and recreational needs of persons with disabilities, focusing on their ability and potential, and promoting their independence and participation in society.
The organisation operates through a multidisciplinary team of experts and members of staff specialised in various fields related to disability. In-house expertise includes: inclusive education; multisensory intervention; occupational, physio & creative therapy; speech-language pathology; psychology; inclusive, adapted & mixed ability sports; accessibility; assistive technologies; independent living skills; supported community living; and supported employment.
The following are the profiles of some of Inspire’s experts:
Mr Nathan Farrugia - CEO and a Trustee of Inspire. He is an MBA graduate from a leading international business school, specialising in strategic management. He has a first degree in Health Science and regularly contributes to business journals, university publications, articles and training programmes on leadership and management. Nathan is also a founder and board member of a recently established social cooperative (EMPOWER) aimed at providing supported employment to persons with disabilities. Furthermore, through his private business (CharityWorks), he is extending that leadership and knowledge to other non-profits with the aims of raising the overall leadership and management quality of the Third Sector in Malta. Nathan is also active in supporting UK and International NGOs with capacity building and project work.
Dr Rita Micallef, M.Sc. (Dublin) Cl. Sp. and Lang. Stds., M.Sc. (Leicester), Trg. and HRM, Ed.D. (Sheffield), is a Member of the Board of Trustees of Inspire and is also a consultant to the organization. Dr. Micallef is qualified in Training and Human Resource Management and in Clinical Speech and Language Studies. She is a State Registered Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Teacher Permanent Warrant. She manages the Speech Language Service provision in Malta and Gozo of the National Health Sector. Dr Micallef lectures at the University of Malta and has also lectured at various European Universities on Emotional Intelligence, Language and Psychiatry, Communication Disorders Secondary to Intellectual Impairment, Professionalism, Introduction to Communication and Communication Disorders, Prevention and Collaborative Practices. She holds a Doctorate in Education: Area researched: Emotions as indicators of performance in Health Care - Towards a redefinition of professionalism in the post-modern workplace. She is a Licensed Trainer with the National Autistic Society (NAS). She is a Member on the Board of Studies and the Board of Examiners of the Communication Therapy Division, University of Malta. In collaboration with the University of Cambridge, she co coordinated a research project with regard to students with ADD/ADHD in Malta.
Professor Paul Bartolo (B.A.(Hons.),P.G.C.E.,M.A.,M.Ed.(Tor.),M.Sc.(Manc.),Ph.D.(Lond.)) has been a consultant psychologist to Inspire (The Eden and Razzett Foundation) since 1992, providing expertise within the field of inclusive education and children with disability particularly autism. Prof. Bartolo coordinates the MPsy (Professional training for Educational Psychologists) and the M.Ed in Inclusion and Individual Educational Needs for the training of Inclusion Coordinators at the University of Malta. He Coordinated the National Curriculum Focus Group for Inclusive Education in 2001-03, and a 7-country Comenius 2.1 project (2004-07) that produced training materials for preparing teachers to respond to student diversity (see www.dtmp.org). Prof Bartolo has chaired the Research and Development Group for Inclusion and Special Needs of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe over the past several years and has recently been elected President Elect of the International School Psychology Association. He has published several peer reviewed articles and books on school psychology, inclusion and special educational needs and is editorial member of the European Journal for Teacher Education and of the School Psychology International journal.
Ms. Paula Doumanov - qualified as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in 1994, and subsequently obtained a Masters in OT from the University of Exeter (UK). Her research was specifically focused on clinical reasoning skills. During the last 18 years of her career, she worked as an OT in several countries including the USA, UK, Bulgaria & Malta, enabling her to gain extensive experience in a range of diverse settings. She initially specialized as a senior therapist in the field of Neurology, and later became a Clinical Specialist & Clinical Lead OT - setting up OT services & providing professional leadership in Accident & Emergency (A&E) & Supported Discharge Teams as part of Winter Pressure initiatives to reduce waiting lists within the National Health Service (NHS), as well as OT services within a newly established Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Service. Paula has completed numerous training courses, and attended workshops & seminars. She has also published several papers in professional journals, magazines & newspapers. Paula is currently employed by Inspire to lead the Expert Panel.
Ms. Doreen Mercieca has been working in the field of autism for the past 20 years, initially being a tutor facilitating children from 0 to 16 years. She was responsible for the founding and coordination of STEP (Structured Training and Education Programme) for children with autism and has since been appointed manager of Inspire’s autism programmes catering to more than 150 clients. Her responsibilities include focusing on the further development of autism services and policies while maintaining already achieved NAS UK accreditation standards. Ms. Mercieca also forms part of the NAS’ Autism Accreditation Programme where she evaluates specialised services and schools in the UK. She has obtained a Masters of Education Autism (Children) with the University of Birmingham.
Ms. Alison Scicluna - With a background in Psychology, Alison has graduated with a Masters degree in Islands and Small States Issues, focusing on health, environmental issues and international relations in 2007. After working with diverse client groups such as prison inmates, young adults in residential care, abused children and persons with mental health difficulties, she started working at INSPIRE as a Life and Social Skills Tutor in 2006. Work involved preparing young adults with learning disabilities for employment by supporting them through different work experiences and also enhancing their life and social skills. Since February, 2008 she has held the position of Adult Training Programme Manager. As part of her on-going CPD, Alison has travelled to similar foreign organisations where amongst others she has participated in an auditors training for quality assurance, attended seminars focusing on increasing the recognition of skills and competencies in vocational education and conferences about best practices in disability-related social services. She has also organised a 4 day conference for 20 international participants held in Malta in 2011.
Ms. Rosette Gatt is currently the manager of the Intellectual Disabilities Program within Inspire. She has been working in the caring / educational / special needs sector for the past 30 years. She achieved her SRN in 1975 and in 1987, was granted a Principal Teacher’s Warrant and license to operate her own Playschool. In 1994 she joined The Eden Foundation as an Early Interventions Educator (EIE) and was promoted to the post of Co-ordinator in 1998. She designed and launched PACES, a program that works with individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, from birth up to the student’s time in the educational setting. As a Program Manager, she also aided in the setting up of the Learning Centre within Inspire, where students with literacy and numeracy difficulties are supported. Rosette introduced the Numicon Maths system in Malta and is the only accredited trainer on the Island. Lately she has been entrusted with the STAR Program, a Program that caters for individuals with physical and neurological disabilities. Rosette is also the author of the ‘Fun with’ series of workbooks for children.
Ms. Marilyn Spiteri obtained a first degree in psychology from the University of Malta in 2006 as well as a post graduate advanced diploma in Humanistic Integrative Counselling from CPPD London in 2010. After working as a learning support assistant in a local private school, she joined INSPIRE in 2007 to work as a Tutor with adolescents on the autism spectrum. She later moved to the Adult Training Programme where she continued working as an employment tutor with various clients and in 2008 assumed the role of Coordinator of the Adult Training Programme. In 2011, Marilyn was responsible for the setting up of a social enterprise called EMPOWER. Since then, Marilyn has held the position of Manager of Work Integration and Social Enterprise Projects within INSPIRE. Marilyn is also a qualified therapeutic counsellor.