This Christmas, which marks the Fund’s 10th year of grant giving, 35 grants have been awarded to 26 entities of the Order in 24 countries. Each of these works will greatly impact the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.

“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. With support from the Fund, the project has also expanded into the summer holidays with a daily camp for 40 children, further reducing the burden on working parents.

“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. The Fund’s most recent grants have helped extend these services to more elderly people in need and enabled the project to also offer a hot Sunday meal to 150 people.

Improving Lives of Indigenous People, Order of Malta France

Likouala in the Republic of Congo is home to the Aka ethnic group. Deforestation has all but destroyed their livelihoods, forcing them to become semi-nomadic. They live in extreme poverty, at particular risk of tuberculosis and leprosy, and frequently exploited by other communities. The Order works with this stigmatised population, improving health and hygiene through mobile medical units and training community leaders in hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infection. The Fund’s most recent grants support this work with the Aka, improving their living conditions, raising awareness of their human rights to fight exploitation, setting up local honey production businesses to provide economic support and increasing access to healthcare across 80 villages.

Medical Care for Marginalised Communities, Panama Association

Remote and impoverished rural communities in Panama often have no transport links and are cut off from public services, many lack access to medical care. The Order sends qualified doctors to these areas, sometimes only accessible by canoe, and provides basic healthcare, vaccinations and health education, as well as referrals to public hospitals when required. Without this service over 1,800 people would otherwise be forgotten. Support from the Fund is helping the project expand the reach and variety of care it offers, with new equipment, medicines and transportation.

Healthcare for Vulnerable Children, Embassy 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 2021.

Residential Rehabilitation for Ex-offenders, British Association

Breaking free from addiction requires courage, tenacity and often specialist help. The Order works in London with vulnerable ex-offenders struggling with addiction through a free residential programme, run in partnership with the Nehemiah Project. Support from the Fund has significantly expanded the project with the addition of a new ‘First Stage’ house for new residents, and the creation of an accompanying ‘Move-On’ house, where those who have been successful in the programme can continue to grow in independence and responsibility in a supported environment. The Fund’s most recent grants support staff salaries and refurbishment costs at the programme.

Vital Supplies for People in Need, Embassy to Bulgaria

During the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers from the Embassy started new work providing food and basic goods packages to homeless, elderly, and destitute people in Sofia. Support from the Fund extended this into the colder months, reaching 150 people with weekly deliveries of basic foodstuffs and healthcare items. A further grant from the Fund will make the project more permanent, easing the burden of 1,800 of the most vulnerable during the winter months, when many are forced to choose between buying food and paying for necessities like heating, medicines or children’s school materials.  The Order’s deliveries make sure that no-one is forgotten.

Healthcare for Vulnerable Children, Brazilian Association of Sao Paolo & Southern Brazil

The Fund has supported the creation and expansion of this project. Sight and hearing problems hinder normal childhood development, profoundly impacting children’s ability to learn, to form relationships and to cope with the surrounding world. Many of these problems are treatable, but early intervention is vital. Left undiagnosed and untreated, cognitive and emotional development can be severely impaired, and permanent disability can occur. A grant from the Fund was awarded to cover the staff costs of this new project targeting children aged up to eight years old from the slums of Sao Paolo who have no other access to healthcare. The programme provides diagnosis, care and treatment for vision, hearing and speaking for 301 children, as well as referrals to surgery where necessary.

Integrating Displaced People, Grand Priory of Bohemia

In the Czech Republic, asylum seekers are often given no support by the state. The Order’s community centre provides administrative assistance for housing, employment, school and social services, as well as language and integration courses. A grant in 2017 allowed the project to expand from helping 200 to 500 people. In 2018, they hired a project manager, increasing visits to detention centres and expanding beyond Prague to the rest of the country in 2019 and beyond. The Fund’s most recent grant supports the new community centre, a permanent space for hosting activities, classes, workshops, and social events, as well as a safe environment for beneficiaries to meet and seek help.

Residential Care for the Vulnerable Elderly, Mexican Association

For many elderly Mexicans and their families, everyday life is a struggle to cope with difficult medical issues, financial instability and lack of general resources. With approximately 47% of Mexican people over the age of 60 living in poverty, the Hogar San Juan is a safe haven to those in need of a loving home. Around 56 vulnerable elders with debilitating medical issues such as dementia, disability or chronic conditions are cared for in the home. Support from the Fund has helped renovate the house, including a new kitchen and laundry, as well as the purchase of lifesaving oxygen concentrators.

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 delivers food and medical care to 3,000 children under 12 in the country’s poorest regions. 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.

Kindergarten for Children in Need, Albanian Relief Service

Many families in rural Albania move to cities in the hope of a better life, but struggle to adapt, find jobs and afford childcare for their children. The Albanian Relief Service’s Kindergarten welcomes 70 children from marginalised communities each year, allowing them to learn and develop in a nurturing environment while their parents work. The Fund is currently supporting a move to a new, more appropriate building which can provide better services and enable more children to attend.

Safe House for Victims of Human Trafficking, Ambassador to Africa for Migration & Human Trafficking

Almost three quarters of the world’s 40 million victims of human trafficking are women and girls, many of whom are exploited for sex.* In Nigeria, the Order’s regional Ambassador-at-large for Human Trafficking and Migration has partnered with the Bakhita St Louis Empowerment network to establish a safe house for young female victims of sex trafficking. These girls, and in some cases their children, are housed in a caring environment, where health and psychological specialists help them and their families to reintegrate into a society that may have rejected them. The Fund contributed to the renovation and furnishing of the home which was opened in March 2019. Further support from the Fund will create an in-house skills acquisition programme, teaching hairdressing, catering, tailoring and IT, enabling more girls to become independent and reintegrate into society. Goods created through the scheme will provide the centre with an additional source of revenue. *Stop the Traffik

Food for Vulnerable People, Polish Association

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of society’s most vulnerable have been hardest hit as established societal support mechanisms are disrupted. The Order in Poland expanded their provision of free meals to the poor in Warsaw and Katowice, providing food for 100 of those in desperate need each week. They also offer emergency transport to people suffering with heart conditions in response to a public shortage of emergency vehicles. The Fund awarded a special grant to help the Order in Poland maintain their care for the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further support will enable this work to expand with volunteers reaching 125 people every week with a hot meal, warm clothes and conversation. Regular counselling and psychological support will be made available to the homeless, many of whom have not received medical care for over 20 years and faced increased isolation during the pandemic.

Support & Integration for Vulnerable Children Through Sport, Lebanese Association

The children of Lebanon are bearing the brunt of the country’s economic collapse alongside the social impact of the ongoing pandemic. Around 15% of families have stopped educating their children and one in 10 children are sent out to work; putting their health, education, and well-being at risk. This grant from the Fund will help launch a new project using sport to relieve stress and help the children prepare for a better future.  400 vulnerable children aged six to fifteen will come together once a week for football and basketball training. Alongside professional coaches, volunteers will work with the children to combat anxiety and learn life skills such as leadership, respect, teamwork, and communication. Monthly social worker-led workshops will discuss issues such as nutrition, personal hygiene, and self-esteem.

Meals for Vulnerable Children, Venezuelan Association

Poverty in Venezuela is now the economic norm, with 91% of people living on under $1 per day. The effects of this situation are especially harmful to children, who are left vulnerable and suffering from chronic malnutrition. The Order, in partnership with the parish of St Francis of Assisi in Naiguata is fighting this with their soup kitchen, which feeds around 120 children per day, providing them with vital nourishment as well as medical check-ups. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the kitchen to close in 2020, however, monthly food packages continued to support these children and their families. With support from the Fund the project is increasing its reach to 250 vulnerable children receiving three lunches every week.

Support for the Elderly, Russian Relief Service (Moscow)

Volunteers in Moscow work with 1,400 vulnerable elderly people, combating isolation and helping them live a fulfilling life as part of their community. The centre offers weekly classes in needlework, computer skills, German and English language, and monthly social gatherings and cultural outings. Food packages and gifts are delivered to over 50 people who are housebound. Support from the Fund will pay for additional equipment, expand their services to reach 2,000 people and increase the frequency of their activities to boost the physical and mental well-being of this community who have suffered greatly during the pandemic restrictions.

Community Kitchen for the Homeless, Australian Association

Australia has an estimated homeless population of 116,000, the majority of whom are located in cities.  Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and the affluent suburb of Bondi has a significant long-term homeless population. Despite this, there are currently no outreach services to this vulnerable group. This grant from the Fund will support the launch of a new work to provide a community kitchen, staffed by volunteers, to serve hot meals alongside conversation and companionship, and the distribution of essentials such as hygiene packs and coats. The kitchen will open once a week, serving 50 people each time.

Day Care for the Elderly, Brazilian Association of Sao Paolo & Southern Brazil

The Cruz de Malta Centre operates in the Jabaquara District of Sao Paolo, where 20% of the population live in slums with poor sanitation and precarious housing. Many elderly people live in appalling conditions with no access to social support and are increasingly isolated as family members move away. The COVID 19 pandemic has exacerbated this isolation, increasing the risk of poor physical and mental health. This grant by the Fund will enable the Centre to relaunch two activities – a choir and a craft club – that will bring 80 of the most vulnerable elderly in the area together once a week for an opportunity to socialise with their peers and boost their well-being.

Improving Medical Service Delivery for Marginalised Communities, Order of Malta France

The St Jean Baptiste hospital in Bodo, Ivory Coast, opened in 2015 and provides vital healthcare to a remote area of 250,000 people. Operating in a district where there is only one doctor for every 20,000 people and 50% of the population live in poverty, the hospital provides vital care for over 30,000 people a year. The grant from the Fund will support structural improvements and the renovation of the hospital canteen, as well as the purchase of new medical equipment such as electric beds, oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters.

Homecare Service to Elderly and Disabled, Czech Relief Service

The Czech Relief Service has provided professional at-home care services in the town of Zatec since 2012, enabling many elderly and disabled people with complex medical needs to remain living at home in their communities rather than seeking institutional care. As well as personal care and supply of meals, the programme also ensures beneficiaries remain active members of society, arranging activities, education and training opportunities, and social engagements. This grant from the Fund will support the Relief Service in their efforts to expand their provision from 4,300 hours of care to 30 people, to 6,500 hours of care to over 40 people.

Improving Medical Facilities for Marginalised Communities, Dominican Association

The region of Monte Plata is one of the most deprived in the Dominican Republic, 73% of the population live in poverty. The Order’s health clinic has provided free or highly subsidised primary healthcare to the local residents since 2003, undertaking over 3,000 consultations a year. Its laboratory is a vital resource, enabling quick diagnoses so that patients can receive immediate treatment – it also helps to lessen pressure on the only public hospital in the area, especially for cervical cancer screening. With support from the Fund the facility will be remodelled and equipment upgraded to ensure it continues to provide the best possible patient care.

Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Families, Lebanese Association

The situation in Lebanon continues to deteriorate, with 74% of the population now living in poverty and unable to afford enough to eat. More than 30% of children are going hungry, resulting in malnutrition and anaemia. As the price of food continues to skyrocket, support from the Fund will enable volunteers to ensure the food and hygiene needs of 200 extremely vulnerable households near the Association’s socio-medical centres. Social workers will identify those most in need, who will then receive a monthly visit from volunteers with basic provisions as well as companionship and support.

Nursing Home for the Elderly, Romanian Relief Service

State support for elderly care in Romania is extremely limited.  An increasing number who, due to poverty and ill-health can no longer live independently, are left at risk of isolation and neglect. The Order’s St John Nursing Home in Timisoara provides a home for 30 vulnerable elderly people, caring for them with love and dignity at the end of their lives. A grant from the Fund in 2018 supported the expansion of the building to increase the number of residents and this further support will contribute to a large-scale renovation programme to ensure the continued safety and comfort of residents.

Support for Young People Leaving Care, Lithuanian Relief Service

Young people with a history of foster or institutional care often lack the confidence, role models, life skills, and opportunities to successfully transition into independent adulthood. Over 1,000 children in Lithuania leave care every year with limited social support available. The Fund is supporting a new project to provide a holistic support service, aiming to give young people the best possible start in their new life. Social workers will receive specialist training, which focuses on empowerment, and 36 young people will benefit from supported accommodation, and a mentoring programme to provide career guidance and vocational training.

Youth Camp for Disabled People, German Association

Many disabled young people in Romania have few chances to leave their care homes, which due to lack of funding and staff shortages are only able to meet their basic needs. Every summer volunteers from the German Association cooperate with their counterparts in Romania to run a holiday camp for disabled young people. The camp enables them to experience a fortnight of accessible activities, the opportunity to socialise with their peers, combat the isolation they face, and build a sense of community. The grant from the Fund will support the catering and accommodations expenses of the guests for the camp in 2021.

Improving Medical Facilities for Vulnerable People, Order of Malta France

The St Jean de Malte Hospital in rural Njombe, provides the only source of high-quality healthcare for over 100,000 people, undertaking over 25,000 consultations a year. It is a centre in the region for medical training, welcoming around 200 interns every year. Support from the Fund will enable the refurbishment of the isolation ward, where 30 patients a year receive specialist care for highly infectious diseases such as TB and cholera. This grant will also enlarge the accommodation facilities for the hospital’s trainees, providing a kitchen and laundry area.

Recreational Centre for the Vulnerable Elderly, Chilean Relief Service

In the rural outskirts of the affluent tourist city of Villarrica, many elderly people live in isolation and poverty. Support from the Fund will establish a new day care centre, a place of community and companionship for 20 vulnerable elderly people. Volunteers will offer craft sessions, workshops, activities, and conversation, giving guests a sense of purpose and being valued.

Improving Medical Equipment for Better Service Delivery to Vulnerable People, Order of Malta France

The OMF Hospitals in Dakar, Senegal and Njombe, Cameroon treat around 40,000 people a year. This support from the Fund will upgrade specialist medical equipment, such as a new ultrasound machine to help expecting mothers and a new sterilizer to decrease waiting times which result from outsourcing. This will ensure the highest level of healthcare provision to the vulnerable communities they serve.

Social Canteen for the Vulnerable Elderly, Romanian Relief Service

Volunteers in Sfantu Gheorghe currently prepare a hot meal once a week for around 15 vulnerable people, but the need in the local area, where many people live below the poverty line and there is little provision for the homeless or disabled, is far greater. With support from the Fund a social canteen is being created, ensuring around 100 people a week can enjoy a hot, nutritious meal in a warm and friendly space, improving their physical and mental well-being.

Transportation for Vulnerable Communities, Russian Relief Service (St Petersburg)

The St Petersburg delegation runs three major programmes, supporting 600 people a month: a daily soup kitchen and meal delivery service for 250 elderly and disabled people, a shelter for the homeless which also provides medical and social support, and emergency support for families in distress including accommodation. All these projects require logistical transportation of supplies which has been difficult to coordinate.  With support from the Fund a transport service with two permanent drivers to serve all three projects.  Supported by a group of volunteers, the service will improve planning and logistics, saving both time and resources.  It will streamline the delivery of hot meals to the housebound, reduce waiting times for families moving from the streets into safe accommodation, and ensure disabled homeless people can access shelters and timely medical care.

Centre for the Roma Community, Slovakian Relief Service & Embassy to the Roma People

The town of Topolcany is home to around 320 Roma people, who currently live in a rundown industrial area, excluded from the rest of the neighbourhood. The community suffers from low levels of education and therefore employment, and children lack any sense of ambition or aspirations for a better future. The Fund is supporting the creation of a new community centre to host a holistic range of activities to improve integration, education, and employment opportunities for this marginalised group. The focus areas will be afterschool activities for children to help with homework and provide leisure opportunities, skills development to increase employment opportunities, and support for young mothers to improve their children’s early years’ development.

Support for Marginalised Youth Leaving Care, South African Relief Service

One fifth of children in South Africa do not live with their parents, with many ending up in care. In the remote and deprived region of Mandeni, where 34% of the population is under 15 years old, the Blessed Gerard Care Centre provides a safe home for children who have been orphaned or abandoned. They often arrive neglected, malnourished, abused, and suffering the effects of HIV. Children who spend their whole lives in care often suffer negative effects of long-term institutionalisation, including lower IQs and mental health issues. The Fund is supporting a new programme to help give these children the skills they need to adapt to adult life once they leave care. This includes basic life skills such as cooking, financial management and career guidance. Classes will be taught by a range of external professionals, giving these young people the chance of a brighter future.

Day Care Centre for Disconnected Elderly People, Chilean Association

In the town of Ralco, Alto Biobio, 6,000 people live a semi-nomadic life scattered across a vast area, many without access to clean drinking water, electricity or heating. There is very limited access to state support, leaving many elderly people extremely vulnerable and isolated. The Chilean Relief Service will open a day care centre in January 2022, providing a haven for 30 vulnerable elderly people, offering basic health and therapeutic care, hot meals and companionship. With their elderly relatives being cared for, family members will be able to return to work, and the centre will provide employment to 12 people in a region where jobs are scarce. The Fund will support the renovation and start-up costs of this work including all the necessary furniture and therapeutic equipment, as well as the installation of laundry and kitchen facilities.

Integrating Disabled People in Rural Communities, Malteser International Americas

Colombia is prone to natural disasters and the increasing devastating impacts of climate change. In the remote region of La Guajira, where 92% of the rural population live in poverty, flooding and wildfires are a constant threat to both lives and livelihoods. Malteser International Americas are helping these communities become more resilient to climate change, but many hundreds lack the basic mobility equipment that enable them to lead full lives and participate in society. This grant will provide 417 people with equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, and hearing aids, as well as the adaptation of community spaces, such as schools, that are used as emergency response hubs, to become fully accessible. This will enable these disabled people to become active participants in their community, engage in community organisation, and ensure their voices are heard.