Children make it better: letters to elderly bring antidote to loneliness at Christmas

Children encouraged to write a letter to elderly citizens living alone this Christmas

Children are being encouraged to write a letter to elderly citizens living alone this Christmas to add a sparkle to their lives and help lift their loneliness.

This initiative, #postofficenanniet, has started being rolled out in schools this week to ensure that the more than 27,000 people over 65 who live on their own in the community will receive a message of love and care during Christmastime.

This idea was born out of a collaboration between the Education Ministry, the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, Nanniet Malta; university professor Alexiei Dingli and his team Stephen Bezzina and Marvic Sciberras.

Christmas can be a difficult time for many, a situation made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic which relegated older and vulnerable people to their homes and deprived them of socialising and human contact.

MFWS chair Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said: “This year, more than ever before, we all got a taste of what it feels like to live alone; some had to live in isolation, while others had to leave their families and stay in quarantine after contracting the virus.

“This pandemic also changed the dynamic in relationships and we no longer hug or stay near each other because of the risks. So we hope that the children’s words will be a small beacon in these people’s lives.”

Children living across Malta and Gozo are being encouraged to visit and to write or draw a message that they would like to share with those people who are living alone.

Each message will then be printed and delivered to these people through the  Archdiocese’s Kummissjoni Djakonija service in every parish. Others will be hand delivered.

“Our elders have built the treasures we enjoy today. This is a gesture to remind them how much they are loved and valued. Together we can help alleviate the darkness of solitude,” Ms Coleiro Preca said.