Dr. Sabine Agius Cabourdin is the Founder of the FIDEM Charity Foundation, the non-profit organisation which operates the We Connect project. She also serves on boards for several other non-profits, including the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation.
A dual citizen of France and Malta, Sabine owns a private boutique law firm in Malta, and specialises in commercial law. Sabine is known for her vivaciousness in law and in every aspect of her life. She is fluent in French, English, Maltese and Italian.
Sabine is passionate about positively impacting the lives of vulnerable people in our society through her work with FIDEM. This commitment led to her deciding that FIDEM would reach out to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This outreach started with the "Hear to Help" Helpline, and has evolved into the We Connect project, which will serve our members throughout the pandemic and beyond.
A Message from Dr. Sabine Agius Cabourdin
"In these deeply uncertain and worrying times, I believe it is more vital than ever for us to prioritise empathy and compassion - to concentrate on our fellow humanity. I invite you to pause with me for a moment, and let’s think about how we can do just that, and consequently how we can come out of the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger together.
What is this newly imposed stillness during self-isolation making you feel? The opportunity for reflection is strongly reminding me that we are all connected, we are all equal, and we all have a duty to help one another get through this. That is exactly why I decided that FIDEM would set up the "Hear to Help" Helpline in response to COVID-19 to provide mental wellbeing and legal aid support to anyone who needs our help.
I made the decision to found the FIDEM Charity Foundation two years ago primarily because I saw that vulnerable people across Malta and Gozo were constantly marginalised. The gulf between rich and poor was only continuing to widen, with many people prioritising the pursuit of wealth and power above all else, and little help available for those who really needed it. Since then, FIDEM has worked to provide vulnerable participants with educational and empowerment opportunities - increasing their self-confidence and enabling them to pursue their life goals.
Through continuing to stick to our guiding principles of empathy and compassion whilst operating our helpline, FIDEM aims to positively impact anyone affected by this pandemic. We want to be there for our callers, no matter what is troubling them as a result of this huge change to all of our everyday lives. Please help us to continue to do so by spreading the word about “Hear to Help” amongst your networks.
We have heard from a lot of people affected by loneliness during this time. In response, we have set up We Connect - an ambitious new project aiming to turn the tide on the vast issue of loneliness going forward.
In line with our commitment to enabling access to education, we have begun purchasing computer equipment for use by our participants situated in the domestic violence shelters and children's homes we partner with. We are particularly keen to ensure that the children have the equipment they need to participate in their lessons online so they do not miss out on their education while schools are closed. We are constantly in touch with the organisations and individuals we have worked with since our inception to see how we can continue to collaborate.
My husband and I have made the personal decision to donate our rental property to house medical staff who are working so hard to protect us all, and are waiving rent on our commercial property to ease the financial pressure on our tenants.
I ask you, what do you think you could do, today and in the weeks to come, to prioritise the principles of empathy and compassion? It should certainly start within – be kind to yourself, especially if you are struggling. Next, reach out to the people around you – does your partner need a comforting hug after a difficult day? Do your elderly neighbours need help, or can you call a friend who is feeling overwhelmed to lend a listening ear?
When this has passed, as we know it will in time, let’s all continue to hold on tightly to these important principles of empathy and compassion. Let's learn from this pandemic, and build our core values based on the meaningful lessons we have gained. Let’s continue to value community, respect, courage and kindness - and we will emerge with new focus and purpose. Finally, let's try to never again take life and all of its infinite small riches for granted.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you. I hope you will find using We Connect a supportive and enriching experience.
You are not alone - together we are stronger".