Ronald Galea is the founder and Director of Fondazzjoni Wens and has been running this Foundation for the last 28 years. This Foundation caters for the needs of persons with physical and/or intellectual disability by providing residential and specialised care and services in Kalkara and Paola.During 1942 and 1960 there was an epidemic of poliomyelitis better known as Polio in Malta and Gozo. This virus had effected millions of people all over the world among which was Mr Galea himself.
Ronald was born in 1958 to a family in Gzira. Growing up was normal except from coping with a disability, playing football and falling many times; getting up and playing again. It was not easy for Ronald’s parents to find the right school for him. Finally their appeal for help was taken up by Stella Maris College which was a few blocks away from his residence. They offered transport, books and free schooling.
Growing up Ronald was very athletic and participated in various sport activities at the Physically Handicapped Rehabilitation fund. At the age of 17 his love for sports landed him a place in the team that represented Malta in the Paralympic Stoke Mandeville games in England.
Turning 18 was another chapter in his life as together with his friends, Ronald founded the ‘handicapped’ youth society. This society was one of its kind as the committee members were all physically disabled. A lot of work was done with families and their children. Many times parents would ask the same question ‘what will happen to my son/daughter after I die?’ This plea for help kept surfacing from time to time in Ronald’s thoughts, which he could not forget.
His interest in working for the betterment of persons with an impairment continued, so much so that he visited other societies in various countries to gain experience and knowledge. In 1987 he was invited to visit a residential home in Nottingham which catered mostly for autistic and intellectually disabled persons. He spent two weeks in this home, which were enough to give him the drive to start a similar project in Malta.
In 1989, with the help of the Handicapped Youth Society and KNPD, the first home in the community for disabled people opened its doors in Paola. This project was only the beginning as another two homes were opened in Paola, and two more homes in Kalkara, with a total of 45 residents in their care.