This Christmas, 35 grants have been awarded supporting the reach and impact of the Order’s work across five continents, providing education, food and medical care for some of the world’s most vulnerable.

Order of Malta International Summer Camp for Disabled People 2020, Italian Association

The Order of Malta’s annual summer camp is a unique opportunity to bring disabled people and their volunteer peers together to learn new skills, stretch their expectations of what is possible and break down the barriers they often face in society. In 2020, the camp will welcome 300 young volunteers and 180 disabled guests from over 20 countries to Rome for a week of new experiences and friendship. A grant from the Fund will support trips and excursions for the guests over the week, enabling them to move beyond their comfort zones, make new relationships and find inspiration in themselves and their peers.

“Every Child Ready to Read” After-School Programme, Albanian Relief Service

The first session of primary school in Albania runs from 7.30 to 11.30am, leaving many disadvantaged families struggling to juggle childcare and employment. The Order in Albania provides a safe, friendly space that allows 30 parents, who are primary providers for their families, to go out to work and earn a living. The children are from disadvantaged families, including those who are orphans, have a parent in prison, or from low-income and single-parent families. The children are helped with their homework and remedial targeting of illiteracy. The centre also offers outdoor games and activities to develop social skills and runs a summer camp for the children.

Relief for Refugee Families, Embassy of the Order of Malta to Thailand

Bangkok is home to a desperate population of Christian refugees. Whole families, forced to flee religious persecution in Pakistan, are trapped in Thailand, where their status as illegal immigrants leaves them unable to work or access education or medical care. The Order is supporting 180 families in this desperate situation, providing health care and education for 92 school-age children whilst they await refugee status and the chance to be resettled. Support from the Fund continues to enable secure accommodation and healthcare to be provided for these families, who represent 500 of the 932 Pakistani refugees in Bangkok.

Soup Kitchen for Deprived Communities, Albanian Relief Service

In Albania, unemployment is high and there is limited state support for marginalised groups. The Order provides food for those struggling in the Lezha region, increasing the social inclusion of groups in extreme economic circumstances. This grant supports the creation of a new soup kitchen which will serve hot meals six days a week, providing a lifeline to 75 people including families, children, the homeless, and the Roma community. The soup kitchen will be the first service of its kind in the city. As well as providing food, it will offer visitors vital companionship and access to healthcare.

Healthcare for the Homeless, Spanish Association

Levels of social exclusion, unemployment and poverty have increased dramatically in Spain over the last decade, with state funding unable to support the most disadvantaged. The San Juan de Acre soup kitchen in Seville supports 50,000 people each year through hot food and companionship, with a special focus on helping those struggling to find employment or housing. With the support of the Fund, the Order will establish new premises alongside the soup kitchen to use as a primary healthcare centre, to run training and employment support and offer legal advice.

Kindergarten for Children in Need, Albanian Relief Service

The Order in Albania provides the only kindergarten in the region that accepts disabled and Roma children. It welcomes 70 young children from poor and marginalised families who cannot afford the private or state kindergarten fees. The centre has cared for 650 children since 2010, and transforms into a social centre at the weekend to support the whole community. A grant from the Fund will support running costs at the centre, allowing it to bring marginalised groups together, building a better, more harmonious future for the whole community.

Independence for Elderly and Disabled People, British Association

In some of Scotland’s isolated communities, loneliness and lack of social contact is a key problem. Through its fleet of minibuses, the Order provides almost 40,000 journeys each year in Central Scotland for those unable to use public transport. Support from the Fund will help over 600 of these people, transporting children with mobility issues to school; helping the elderly get to medical appointments, the shops or to visit friends; giving independence to many who would otherwise be unable to travel.

First Aid for Isolated Communities, British Association

Support from the Fund will cover the cost of purchasing the equipment needed to take Caithness Family First Aid service to first-responder level, enabling Order volunteers to provide first aid cover at around 20 community events each year. Without this service, many of these events cannot take place as other providers are over 100 miles away. As a result the local community can come together more often, with the reassurance that someone is there to help in an emergency.

Care for Forgotten Elderly People, Cuban Association

Cuba’s elderly population is growing rapidly; with state pensions of just a few dollars a month, many elderly people are lonely, vulnerable and in need. The Order provides food, medical care, and companionship to over 5,000 elderly people every year at 45 canteens and four day care centres across Cuba. This grant will support the ambitious expansion of the project to convert more canteens into day care centres, giving guests not only vital food, but access to healthcare, and an opportunity to socialise, play chess and interact.

Healthcare for Vulnerable Children, Embassy of the Order of Malta to Guyana

Port Kaituma, a small town on the border between Venezuela and Guyana, has very little healthcare provision. There is no paediatrician in the whole region. As refugees continue to cross the border, the pressure on these limited state services continues to increase. With the support of the Fund, the Order’s Ambassador to Guyana is responding to this dire situation by bringing a visiting paediatrician to the area who will provide health checks, basic medication and hospital referrals for 500 vulnerable children in 2020.

Order of Malta Medical Clinic, Embassy of the Order of Malta to Oceania

In Timor-Leste, access to basic medical services is restricted for many of society’s most marginalised. The Order’s Medical Clinic in Dili provides free basic primary medical care and health education to 10,000 poor Timorese people each year. This includes nutritional support and immunisations for over 1,000 young children, giving them the best chance of a healthy start to life. A grant from the Fund is supporting staff salaries, equipment and medical supplies at the clinic.

Craft Workshop for Disabled People, Ukrainian Relief Service

Young disabled people in Ukraine learn useful social and practical skills at school, but there is no provision beyond this. The Order runs a carpentry workshop to develop young people’s employment prospects and provide an opportunity to continue to grow their skills and capabilities. Support from the Fund will enable the creation of a permanent carpentry workshop, which will help 15 young people with disabilities aged between 17 and 28 to develop their motor skills, self-confidence and communication, and improve their employability.

Fighting the Rise in Human Trafficking, Grand Magistry

The Order brought together European and International experts and stakeholders to discuss new approaches, strategies and best practices in the fight against the scourge of human trafficking at a conference in Paris in 2019. Conference participants developed new collaborations to facilitate the return, care and reintegration of women trafficked from Nigeria and West Africa, where the Order runs a safe house rehabilitating victims of the trade. A grant from the Fund supported participants from the safe house to attend the conference, enabling those on the frontline to share their experience and expertise with attendees.

Socio-Medical Centres for the Elderly, Lebanese Association

The Lebanese Association’s Socio-Medical Centres for the elderly are the only two centres in the West Bekaa Valley and Southern Lebanon areas caring for isolated elderly people free of charge. Currently, they prepare hot meals for 1,192 people each year, host healthcare services, and combat isolation by bringing together the community through meals, festivals and games. The centres also run outreach services, connecting elderly people with their community and finding ways to enable them to continue living at home for as long as possible. Support from the Fund underpins this social lifeline to Lebanon’s elderly population, and the expansion of the home visit service to those who are housebound.

Integration of Displaced People, Grand Priory of Bohemia

In the midst of the greatest displacement of peoples for over half a century, the Order is working to help newcomers integrate effectively on their arrival in new countries. In Prague, the Grand Priory of Bohemia provides a range of services to arriving refugees, including practical help with asylum applications, accessing benefits, housing and basic provisions. It supports psychosocial and medical assistance programmes as well as specific courses to improve understanding of the local culture and language. The Fund’s support will continue to allow the project, now helping over 500 people, to expand, including volunteer visits to more detention centres.

Neonatal Healthcare, Holy Family Hospital

The Order’s Holy Family Hospital has the most specialised Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Bethlehem area, and acts as a vital referral centre, especially for premature babies. Support from the Fund will allow the hospital to provide life-saving treatment to children of some of the most disadvantaged mothers in the community by covering the specialist care costs for those unable to afford them. An estimated 40% of patients are refugees and 60% live below the poverty line.

School Transport for Disabled Children, Grand Priory of Bohemia

The Order in the Czech Republic provides transport for 42 children with disabilities to get to school every day, giving them access to vital education and the opportunity to make friends. However, many disabled children remain trapped at home, unable to learn and play with their peers at school. Support from the Fund will support the purchase of a new vehicle for the project, giving more disabled children the chance of an education and meaningful friendships.

Care Home for Elderly People, Lithuanian Relief Service

Lithuania has very little care provision for elderly people, that which exists is very medicalised, leaving many faced with the choice of struggling at home or moving far away to a hospital environment. The Order is creating the first residential care home in Lithuania, providing a homely caring environment for 28 elderly people in Telsiai. A grant from the Fund will pay for the refurbishment of the building so that it is ready to start admitting its first residents in 2020.

Socio-Medical Care for Disabled Children, Lebanese Association

Teachers in Lebanon report increased numbers of children struggling with speech and movement in the classroom. Many are refugees from Iraq and Syria, physically and psychologically traumatised by their experiences, making learning a particular battle. The Order’s socio-medical centres help these children develop their skills and improve their mental resilience. Supported by psychologists, nutritional advisers and movement and speech therapists, the children regain their confidence and the ability to achieve. Support from the Fund is establishing these therapies at two centres and funding staff salaries, equipment and outreach campaigns at two others, allowing an extra 115 children in need to receive support.

Medical Outreach for Vulnerable Mothers and Babies, Order of Malta France

In Benin, 45% of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. The Order’s hospital in Djougou monitors and treats over 10,000 young children a year through its mobile medical team, travelling to 20 remote villages each month to treat the most vulnerable. As well as effectively treating children in the short term, this work also teaches 400 mothers about nutrition every year, ensuring a longer-term solution. Through helping mothers create their own gardens, families are supported to be more self-sufficient and can generate extra income to support themselves. The grant from the Fund will enable the Order to help another 10,636 malnourished children in 2020.

Improving Hospital Sanitation Facilities, Belgian Association

In the most impoverished suburb of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, extreme poverty, high unemployment and poor housing conditions leave the population vulnerable to disease. In the face of illness, a complete lack of social security system makes healthcare inaccessible to the poorest. The Order supports the 120-bed King Badouin Hospital in providing healthcare to thousands of forgotten people. The hospital’s sanitation facilities are a vital infrastructure requirement for good hygiene within the hospital, in particular for diseases such as cholera. Support from the Fund will renew all sanitary complexes across the hospital, and construct a new facility for the emergency department.

Oakland Medical Clinic, US – Western Association

Access to healthcare in the USA is prohibitively expensive for the poorest communities, who are often uninsured and cannot afford basic medical care. Helping over 5,000 disadvantaged people in 2020, the Order’s Oakland Medical Clinic provides free healthcare, including eye tests, x-rays, vaccinations, and prescriptions for the uninsured five days a week. The clinic also directly supports the local homeless community, providing podiatry services to assist with some of the foot problems associated with living in unsanitary conditions. Support from the Fund will help the work expand its reach in 2020 through the creation of a mobile clinic which will be able to access more disadvantaged people desperately in need of healthcare.

“Old is Gold” Day Care Centre, Albanian Relief Service

Many elderly people in Albania face hunger, health concerns and loneliness without family or friends to support them. The Order’s “Old is Gold” centre provides daily support and social interaction for isolated elderly people. As well as basic health care and access to social workers, the centre offers hot drinks, a chance to meet friends, read the newspaper and play cards, dominos or chess. Celebrating birthdays together and organising pilgrimages and field trips creates a sense of friendship and community for many who would otherwise have no one to speak to. The centre raises awareness of the hardships many elderly people face and promotes their rights to protection and social welfare. A grant from the Fund will help the Centre support 200 guests and extend their service with a Sunday meal for 50 isolated elderly people.

Asia-Pacific Youth Camp for the Disabled 2019, Hong Kong Association

Awareness of disabilities and what can be achieved is growing around the world, yet many young people with mental and physical disabilities still have limited opportunities to explore the world and spend time with their peers developing self-esteem and important social skills. The Order’s International Camps for Disabled Youth offer an opportunity for young people with disabilities to grow in confidence and overcome their limitations. With the support of the Fund, in October 2019, the Hong Kong Association welcomed 31 disabled guests to an unforgettable four days of rock-climbing, diving, disco-dancing and water parks, giving guests the chance to overcome expectations of their limitations, while making friends from all around the world.

Improving Nutrition for Vulnerable Children, Mexican Association

Malnutrition stunts physical and mental growth, curbing stature, brain development, language skills and memory. In Mexico, where one in eight children are malnourished, the Order’s ‘Help Me Grow’ programme will deliver food and medical care to 3,000 children under 12 in the country’s poorest regions in 2020. As well as treating and preventing malnutrition, the Order delivers workshops teaching families how to support their children’s growth with low-cost nutritional meals. Support from the Fund is contributing to the cost of food supplements, equipment and staff salaries.

Healthcare Provision for Disadvantaged Communities, Order of Malta France

The ability to provide high quality healthcare that is affordable to the very poor is integral to the values of the Order’s hospitals, helping those who otherwise cannot access crucial medical treatment. Support from the Fund is enabling the creation of a central fund across six hospitals Order hospitals in Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Madagascar, to fully cover the costs of treatment for the poorest patients. In 2020, this will help 828 of the most vulnerable people in these countries to access potentially life-changing medical assistance.

Medical Equipment for Forgotten Communities, Order of Malta France

Equipment and infrastructure are an integral part of life-saving medical care, and difficult to access in many countries. A grant from the Fund will enable five Order of Malta healthcare centres across Africa to invest in new equipment, developing the quality of their healthcare provision for 80,000 people each year. Equipment needed includes an autoclave to sterilise medical instruments, a microscope to improve the specialised treatment of leprosy, and a generator to provide a reliable source of electricity, essential for refrigerating medicines and maintaining service provision.

After-School Club for Disadvantaged Children, Romanian Relief Service

Many disadvantaged children in Romania leave school early, lacking the support they need to overcome the barriers of their background and achieve an education in the under-resourced state sector. The Order in Romania is establishing a weekly afterschool club for 12 disadvantaged children aged between 7 and 14. As well as supporting children to succeed in their studies, the club will organise outings and extra-curricular activities, boosting positivity and social skills among the group. Each child will receive a hot meal at the club, helping them to be physically ready to learn and develop healthily.

Education for Disabled Children, Romanian Relief Service

The Order’s Maltese Kindergarten in Romania helps children with severe neuromotor disabilities. Staff at the kindergarten assess the needs of each child, and tailor their care accordingly, working to improve cognitive functions, speech and communication skills to help them reach their full potential and better integrate into society. In 2020, the Order will provide a follow-up service for children aged 9-15 who have graduated from the kindergarten, giving them two weekly specialist education sessions plus individual physiotherapy. Support from the Fund will allow the Order to care for ten children who would otherwise receive no educational support.

Education for Disabled Children, German Association

Disabled people in Lebanon are often confined to poorly-equipped institutions with little social interaction, leaving them lacking in stimulation and opportunities to develop intellectual, emotional and social skills. Young Order volunteers from Germany and Lebanon provide education and specialist physiotherapy for eight disabled young men at the Deir el Salib home in Beirut, a haven of loving care and support. The Fund will provide the cost of a psychomotrician and physiotherapist for two hours, five days a week, helping these young men develop cognitive and motor skills as well as confidence and independence.

Aide et Assistance, Swiss Association

Utilising the Order’s unique network of Ambassadors and Associations, Aide et Assistance gathers healthcare and educational equipment from institutions in Switzerland and transports them to the places that need them most. In the last two years alone, the Order shipped 125 trucks and 16 containers of useful materials to those in need across the world. In 2018, 2,700 beds were delivered worldwide, enabling one million nights of comfortable sleep for hospital patients who would otherwise sleep on a concrete floor, whilst 850 pupils in Lebanon benefitted from three containers of school furniture. A grant from the Fund will support the Order to continue coordinating this complex and efficient sharing of resources.

Protection of Refugees, Grand Magistry

Preserving the rights of people on the move is a key priority for many international bodies, but the laws governing them are not always well understood. In 2020, the Order will host a two-day course on the protection of refugees and migrants in Libya, in partnership with global experts on the topic. The course will enable those on the front line of interaction with migrants to develop their understanding of international humanitarian law, with a specific focus on refugees, and how these laws should be promoted and implemented at a national level. Support from the Fund will pay for the training costs, travel expenses, accommodation and meals for the Libyan participants.

Medical Imaging Clinic for Deprived Communities, Order of Malta France

Medical scanners save lives by enabling faster diagnosis and treatment referrals, but there are only six across the entire country of Benin. The Medical Imaging Centre of the Order’s St Jean de Malte hospital is one of those few, and serves a region of 350,000 people, delivering life-saving CT scans to 611 people in 2018, diagnosing brain injuries, respiratory diseases, and digestive complications. Support from the Fund will enable the maintenance of the scanner and the improvement of communications about its importance in saving lives, both critical steps towards delivering appropriate healthcare treatment throughout the region.

Improving Nutrition for Vulnerable Children, Malteser International

Poor families in La Guajira, Colombia, live in dire conditions, struggling to access healthcare and find food for their children. An influx of refugees from Venezuela has placed additional pressure on the region’s resources. The Order supports over 600 malnourished children a year, providing food, vaccinations, and education on nutrition, sanitation and hygiene. Support from the Fund in 2020 will allow the Order to screen an additional 700 vulnerable children and enrol 70 malnourished children in their lifesaving programme.

Residential Rehabilitation for Ex-offenders, British Association

Breaking free from addiction requires courage, tenacity and usually specialist help. The Order works in London with vulnerable ex-offenders recovering from addiction through a free residential programme. The Fund continues to support the significant expansion of the Nehemiah Project, which this year will help up to 50 men rebuild their lives and move on to live independently without addiction.