This St John’s Day, which marks the Fund’s ten year anniversary, 37 grants have been awarded to 23 entities of the Order in 28 countries. Each of these works will greatly impact the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.
School Transportation for Disabled Children, Czech Relief Service
Melnik county, in the Central Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, has no provision for children with disabilities to get to school, leaving many socially isolated and excluded from a mainstream education. With the Fund’s support, the Order’s project fulfils this vital need, transporting 48 children with disabilities to school every day. The Fund is supporting the running costs of the project.
Vehicles to Support Ukraine Crisis Response, Slovakian Relief Service
The Slovakian Relief Service of the Order of Malta has been working tirelessly to receive and care for refugees fleeing Ukraine. The distribution of essential items such as food and medicine is a complicated issue and lack of logistics can cause significant delays. With support from the Fund, the Relief Service is purchasing minibuses to facilitate the long-term transportation of supplies and people, both in-country and across the border into Ukraine.
Community Centre for Marginalised Children, Uruguayan Association
School dropout levels among those from disadvantaged communities in Uruguay is nearly 30% and nearly 8% of children aged 8-14 go out to work. A grant from the Fund will support the creation of a new community centre to provide educational support and counselling for disadvantaged children and single parent families, as well as an expansion of activities encouraging a welcoming and entertaining school environment.
Integration Programme for Vulnerable Refugees, Lithuanian Relief Service
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, over 37,000 refugees have arrived in Lithuania. Order volunteers are working with 6,000 Ukrainian refugees in 10 locations across the country providing basic humanitarian support. A grant from the Fund will enable the Relief Service to strengthen and develop their services, training volunteers to offer a full integration programme now that the initial crisis phase is over and an urgent demand for longer term support is growing.
Vehicles to Support Ukraine Crisis Response, Polish Association
Poland has received over three million Ukrainian refugees and the Polish Association of the Order of Malta has been working tirelessly to care of those fleeing conflict. The distribution of essential items such as food and medicine is a complicated issue and lack of logistics can cause significant delays. With support from the Fund, the Polish Association is purchasing minibuses to facilitate the long-term transportation of supplies and people, both in-country and across the border into Ukraine.
Vehicles & Logistics to Support Ukraine Crisis Response, Romanian Relief Service
The Romanian Relief Service of the Order of Malta has been working tirelessly to receive and care for refugees fleeing Ukraine. The distribution of essential items such as food and medicine is a complicated issue and lack of logistics can cause significant delays. With support from the Fund, the Relief Service is purchasing minibuses to facilitate the long-term transportation of supplies and people, both in-country and across the border into Ukraine, as well as equipment for the warehouses storing aid supplies.
Supporting Guest Attendance at the International Summer Camp 2022, Irish Association
The Order of Malta International Summer Camp is an opportunity for disabled guests to travel to Rome and enjoy a range of activities. The annual camp always leaves the disabled guests feeling empowered, with a sense of community and freedom from the restrictions that often limit their daily lives. The impact is long-lasting and life changing on volunteers and guests alike. This grants round, the Fund is supporting additional attendance from the Irish Association, enabling more guests to experience this joyful and life-changing week.
Medical Care to Remote Communities, South African Relief Service
In the remote rural region of Mandeni, the highest rates of HIV and TB in the country leave many unable to work due to ill health or the need to care for family members, poverty is widespread and access to healthcare extremely difficult. The outreach team from the Relief Service’s medical centre undertake over 90 home visits a month, providing wound dressing and care to the bedridden, delivering medication, and giving everyone the best possible chance of recovery. Support from the Fund will help purchase a new ambulance and fittings to continue this important work.
Creative Holidays for Orphans and Children with Disabilities, Embassy to Bulgaria
Hiking, quadbike riding, and the chance to be artistic: the Order’s creative camps in Bulgaria enable orphans from state institutions to enjoy a much-needed break from their day-to-day environments. The children, many of whom are disabled, enjoy outdoor activities, make new friends and create artwork which is published each year by the Embassy. Grants from the Fund have supported these memorable and life-enhancing activities for children who rarely experience life outside their residential homes. In 2022, a grant from the Fund will increase the number of children able to attend from 50 to 80.
Early Intervention Programme for Children with Disabilities, Ukrainian Relief Service
In 2019, the Beregovo delegation launched a programme to train caregivers of disabled children to provide a combination of social, physical, academic, and emotional learning techniques that improves not only the health outcomes of these vulnerable youngsters, but also their ability to integrate into their local communities and lead a fuller life. The programme’s eight staff hold over 5,000 sessions a year, provding 200 children with speech therapy, therapeutic massage, and psychological support. Support from the Fund will ensure the continuation of this vital programme despite the ongoing conflict.
Medical Care for People with Respiratory Diseases, Chilean Relief Service
“Our Lady of Philermo Rehabilitation Centre” opened in 2011 and for nine years provided vital therapy for over 300 vulnerable people with respiratory conditions every month. Forced to close its doors for two years due to the pandemic, the volunteers ensured that at-home therapy was provided wherever possible, but many patients deteriorated without their regular visits to the centre which also provides a community and support network. With support from the Fund, the Centre can be refurbished so this vital service can reopen, including the creation of a garden to support patient recovery and mental health.
Homes for Homeless Families, Colombian Association
Over a third of the population of Colombia have no permanent home. The vast majority of these 18 million people live in rural areas, where poverty levels across the country are over 40%. The state is simply not able to meet this overwhelming need, leaving remote communities with only their local parish for support. Last year, with a grant from the Fund, the Colombian Association launched a project to build houses for highly vulnerable families in the rural outskirts of Bogota, constructing permanent shelter for six families. A further grant is supporting the construction of four more houses.
Centre for the Displaced Roma Community, Romanian Relief Service
In January 2021 a fire ripped through the makeshift dwellings of the segregated and overcrowded Roma community of Sumuleu Ciuc, leaving 256 people including 162 children homeless and destitute. With support from the Fund a new community centre is being constructed, which will help the community build a better future by providing integrated and holistic support, including life management and parenting skills, literacy classes, employment support, and personal hygiene education. There will be afterschool clubs for children as well as extra-curricular activities designed to improve socio-emotional development and discourage early school dropout.
Community Care Centre for At Risk People, Australian Association
Southport on Australia’s Gold Coast has suffered urban decay over the last few decades, with rising poverty levels meaning many are struggling to meet the basic cost of living or pushed onto the streets by high rents. This project creates a safe supportive space for those currently living on the margins of society, with provision of a hot meal, basic supplies, laundry and shower facilities, and a friendly conversation. It will be open five days a week, reaching around 1,000 vulnerable people. Support from the Fund will enable the expansion of the activities and services the volunteers can offer, including the provision of IT and sports equipment.
Ukraine Crisis Response, Malteser International
Co-funding from the Fund has enabled Malteser International to access a major grant from the German government, which will be distributed through the Order’s entities in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. This programme will give three million displaced people access to information hubs and first aid attention at border crossings; offer psychological support to 700,000 people who are suffering immense trauma; deliver over three million hot meals; purchase 2.5 million essential items such as blankets, clothing and hygiene kits; and establish emergency shelters in Bratislava and Lviv to house displaced people.
Community Centre and Soup Kitchen for Vulnerable People, Latvian Relief Service
Almost 23% of the Latvian population are at risk of poverty, with 10% barely able to meet their basic needs. A grant from the Fund will establish a community centre in Saldus to support 100 of the most vulnerable and marginalised in the community, reducing social isolation, and providing support to access the services they need. Social activities, psychological support, and referral services will be provided to vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, disabled, single mothers, victims of abuse, and refugees. Funds will also enable the expansion of a soup kitchen service to provide 90 disadvantaged people with hot meals and companionship every week and distribute food packages to a further 100.
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.
Mother and Child Outreach to Deprived Rural Areas, Albanian Relief Service
In the rural mountains of North Albania, infant mortality is twice as high as urban areas and many children’s growth is stunted due to poor health practices. The Albanian Relief Service has provided medical support in the region since 1995, improving the health and nutritional status of around 1,000 mothers and children every year. Volunteer medics deliver comprehensive ante and post-natal care, health and nutrition education, early childhood development monitoring and referrals to maternity hospitals where required. “Baby boxes” of vital supplies are distributed to the most vulnerable new parents and a nutrition programme promotes the importance of healthy eating for early years’ childhood development.
Integration Programme for Roma Communities, Albanian Relief Service & Embassy to the Roma People
There are nearly 2,000 Roma people and 1,189 Egyptians living in dire conditions in Northern Albania. Isolated from mainstream society, both socially and economically, they face challenges with housing, unemployment, access to social services, healthcare and education. Since 2001, the Albanian Relief Service has improved access to social services, healthcare, legal assistance and education through their integration centre in Lezha, constructed with support from the Fund. A grant from the Fund is supporting the core costs of the programme including a kindergarten for three- to six-year-olds, after school activities, literacy support, sport and music, helping improve the Roma children’s school attendance rates and increasing their chance of a better future.
Ambulances for Vulnerable Communities, Order of Malta France
The OMF health centres in Pita, Guinea; Walia and Amtoukoui, Chad; and the first responder unit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso provide the only source of affordable high-quality healthcare to over 50,000 people every year. The staff at these four centres, which also provide outreach services into remote rural areas, work tirelessly to keep the services running despite challenges such as difficulties in access to supplies, lack of transport, and security concerns. A grant from the Fund purchased two ambulances for the first responders in Burkina Faso, ensuring the fast and safe arrival of patients at the hospital, and a transit vehicle each for Guinea and Chad to reduce transport times for staff attending urgent cases and to facilitate the movement of medicines.
Orthopaedic Care for Vulnerable Children, Order of Malta France
Having a disability affects every aspect of a child’s life – 60% of disabled children in Africa do not attend school – but there are only 42 paediatric orthopaedic surgeons across the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, making access to the specialist care needed impossible for many. The OMF hospital in Dakar is a centre of excellence for orthopaedic care and the only hospital in Senegal to provide this care to children who require a specialist approach. It also advocates for the inclusion of paediatric orthopaedic treatment in the national healthcare scheme for disabled people. The Fund is supporting the first year of a three-year programme, providing care to 50 children and training 25 surgeons across the country.
Care for Disabled Children, Kfardebian Camp, Lebanese Association
With support from the Fund, the Lebanese Association is renovating the outdoor space and playground area at their Kfardebian Centre. The use of outdoor space during the summer camps is a vital element of the programme that helps to give guests a sense of freedom and space that they do not encounter in their institutional homes. The centre hosts nine camps a year, reaching over 180 disabled people and disadvantaged children each summer. Once fully renovated the centre will also host a day care programme for 25 elderly and disabled people, as well as acting as a hub for other local Order programmes, including distribution of supplies to the area’s most vulnerable families.
Vital Support for Ukrainian Refugees, Polish Association
Over three million people have crossed the border into Poland since war broke out in Ukraine. The Order in Poland responded immediately and has provided support at the border and in centres ever since. This St John’s Day, the Fund is supporting the work of the Silesian delegation whose activities are centred around the city of Katowice. Their volunteers will reach 2,000 refugees with hot meals, packages of basic necessities, and the provision of psychological support to help vulnerable women, children and elderly people build a new life having fled the Ukraine. Support with accessing social services is provided, helping those who wish to apply for permanent residency, and vulnerable women to find safe accommodation.
Home Therapy for Disabled Children, Polish Association
In the Polish health system, children born with disabilities or severe health conditions must wait until their parents have received the necessary documentation before they are eligible to receive state-funded care. This can sometimes take months, preventing those who cannot afford private healthcare from receiving immediate vital therapy, and causing great distress to families. This grant from the Fund will expand the Maltese Health Centre in Krakow’s at-home therapy programme to continue to care for the most vulnerable from the local population and also include 25 Ukrainian refugee families with disabled children, meaning they can immediately access the care they need whilst waiting for the necessary documentation.
Day Care Centres for Elderly People, Lithuanian Relief Service
Many elderly people in Lithuania live each day in unbearable isolation, stress exacerbating existing chronic illness and anxieties. With the support of the Fund, in 2019 the Order established a day care centre for seniors in the town of Alytus, where the activities and community created have dramatically improved physical health and mood of those that attend. Grants awarded in 2020 and 2021 supported the creation of three more centres. This grant in 2022 will add a fifth day centre to the Lithuanian Relief Service’s work, expand the existing centres, and add psychological support across the programme to further reduce isolation and improve mental health. Together, the five centres bring care and companionship to over 160 vulnerable elderly people
Logistical Support for Ukraine Crisis Response, Ukrainian Relief Service
The volunteers and staff of the Ukrainian Relief Service in Beregovo have been working tirelessly to support the many hundreds of thousands of desperate people arriving in their region. There are currently 250,000 internally displaced people living in the Transcarpathia region of Ukraine, with supplies of basic goods such as food, medication and fuel running low. The Beregovo delegation continues to process truckloads of aid, distributing it across the region as well as further into Ukraine; to Lviv, Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernihiv and more. With support from the Fund, the Relief Service has purchased a forklift truck and transportation vehicles, relieving the pressure on the team and increasing their capacity to carry out transports to communities in need.
Socio-Medical Centre for Disabled Children, Albanian Relief Service
In Albania, families with disabled children struggle to find support for their children’s complex needs. The Albanian Relief Service’s socio-medical centre provides disabled children from marginalised communities with specialist therapy, adapted education, recreational excursions and life skills classes. These help the children lead healthy and integrated lives, whilst also supporting parents through workshops and free social and legal advice. Support from the Fund has enabled the programme to expand to a second location at the Relief Service’s Kindergarten, enabling them to double capacity to meet high demand. They are now open five days a week, providing 75 children aged 3-10 with vital therapeutic support and help to integrate with their peers.
Education and Integration of Roma Children, Ukrainian Relief Service & Embassy to the Roma People
Very few of the Roma children living in the segregated camp at Beregovo in Ukraine attend school, and those who do often drop out. Some girls become mothers as young as 13 years old. Although integration is difficult, education alongside other local children is key to ensuring a better, more stable future for these marginalised children. With the Fund’s support, the Order has built a new educational and integrational centre, which provides after school activities, vocational training and lessons in health and hygiene to around 50 children. The centre also ensures a daily meal for the children, which is sometimes the only food they will have that day, the provision of counselling and mental health support, and in 2022 the addition of music lessons which provides a holistic educational experience.
Support Centre for Refugees, Latvian Relief Service
Although Latvia does not border Ukraine, at least 12,000 Ukrainian refugees have chosen to seek safety there, over half of them in Riga. Predominantly women and children, they have suffered severe trauma and a dramatic change in their circumstances. A grant from the Fund will establish a new centre to provide a holistic programme to meet not only basic needs such as accommodation and food, but also address mental health and longer-term integration issues so that they can build a new, safe future with dignity. The programme will offer 40 Ukrainian women psychological counselling as well as group activities to build confidence and a sense of community. Informal educational activities will be run for 50 Ukrainian children to help their well-being and social integration.
Fighting Leprosy and TB in Disadvantaged Communities, Order of Malta France
TB is a major public health issue in Guinea with 176 cases per 100 000, and although the incidence of leprosy is now under one case per 10,000, it remains a disease that has a major effect on sufferer’s lives. Order of Malta France have developed an outreach strategy to tackle both diseases, involving training 84 community health workers in diagnosis, testing, treatment, follow-up, and creating a strong community approach to managing disease outbreaks. The programme will reach around 82,000 people in a year, educating to ensure those currently affected receive the treatment they need, and to prevent future epidemics. Support from the Fund will also help the construction of a new isolation unit for drug-resistant TB patients at OMF’s Pita health centre, which will treat around 40 people every year.
Care for Forgotten Elderly People, Cuban Association
Cuba’s elderly population is growing rapidly but receives little to no state provision. The Cuban Association provides food, health checks and companionship to marginalised elderly people every year at 61 locations across the country. Since 2020, the Fund has been supporting the Association’s plans to convert more ‘Comedores’ into ‘Casas des Abuelos’ allowing them to provide not only food, but a holistic programme including healthcare and physical activities. The Fund’s most recent grant to this programme will support the conversion of a Comedor in Santiago de Cuba, allowing the project to significantly increase its number of guests and provide a more substantial programme of support. Funds will also support the regular distribution of hot meals at other Comedores in the Oriente region.
Medical Infrastructure for Remote Communities, Order of Malta France
Order of Malta France offers the only high-quality medical care to thousands living in poverty in remote areas of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Madagascar, Rep Congo, Senegal and Togo. In order to ensure the continuation of their high standard of patient care, OMF are conducting a series of renovation works across these centres, and investing in new equipment to ensure the people served every year receive the best possible treatment. A grant from the Fund will support this improvement, including: 17 renovated patients rooms and provision of computers to enable digitisation of patient records in Madagascar, refurbishment of the surgery ward and pharmacy in Togo, air conditioning units for two centres in Chad, IT equipment for the first responder unit in Burkina Faso, and diabetes detection equipment in Cameroon.
Medicines for Lebanon, Grand Priory of Bohemia
Lebanon is enduring a humanitarian catastrophe ignited by one of the worst financial crises in centuries, and further fuelled by COVID-19 and the Beirut explosion in 2020. Shortages of basic goods plague every aspect of Lebanese life. Food prices have increased more than tenfold since 2019 and fuel shortages cripple normal life, endangering essential services such as hospitals. Vital medicines are scarce and expensive and drug subsidies have recently been lifted on essential medicines to treat common, chronic conditions. With the support of key Associations of the Order, the Fund is collaborating with the Lebanese Association, the Grand Priory of Bohemia, Order of Malta France and the Sisters of the Cross to deliver a consistent supply of vital medications, from antipsychotics to analgesics, to 2,500 disabled people in five institutions across the country.
Medical Support for Refugees, Embassy to Cyprus
Cyprus now hosts more refugees per capita than any other EU country, leaving camps overrun and resources scarce. Those living in the island’s largest refugee camp at Koffino face cramped conditions, scant access to medical care, and have scarcely enough food to survive. They must wait 18 months in these hopeless conditions for their asylum applications to be processed. In 2019, with the Fund’s support, the Order began distributing basic medical supplies to those in the camp, including painkillers for cancer patients, medicine for eye and skin conditions and pregnancy complications and allergy tablets. Three follow-up grants helped to expand the programme which now provides around 30 people a month with medication and a further 70 people a month, including many pregnant refugees, with vital translation services during hospital visits.
Medical Care for the Uninsured, US Federal Association
Founded in 2006, Malta House of Care is the only free clinic for uninsured adults in the Greater Hartford region of Connecticut, providing free primary healthcare for thousands who would otherwise turn to emergency rooms or get no care at all. In an area where 30% of the population live in poverty, 50 medical volunteers provide diagnoses, tests, prescriptions, and guidance on how to manage chronic conditions, bringing care to forgotten communities with their mobile clinic. Many are refugees, with patients representing over 50 countries and speaking 32 languages. In 2021, they provided 5,155 primary care visits, caring for 1,265 people, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and will add a permanent clinic site alongside their mobile clinic this year. The Fund’s most recent grant will contribute to the costs of lab testing enabling the increasing number of patients to get accurate diagnosis and treatment for chronic conditions.
Specialist Therapeutic Support for Disabled Children, Romanian Relief Service
The Order provides specialist support, therapeutic activities and counselling for 15 families with disabled children in Blaj, tackling the difficult practical and emotional issues that affect families, helping them to develop coping mechanisms. Its support aims to keep as many children in education for as long as possible. In addition, The Romanian Relief Service’s Support Centre for Families with Disabled Children in Cluj-Napoca provides advice and emotional support for parents who often endure prejudice from the local community on behalf of their children. In 2022, with support from the Fund, the centres will purchase licences for specialist programmes such as MIRA Rehab (interactive activities and exercise for physiotherapy) and PECS (using pictograms for non-verbal communication and to develop speech and vocabulary), ensuring permanent access to these therapeutic programmes for the 41 children who use them.
Renovation of Care Home for the Elderly, Romanian Relief Service
The Order’s residential care home in Dorobanti has provided a safe and loving home for 40 elderly people with disabilities since 1993. Over the past 30 years the building has suffered significant wear and tear and is now in urgent need of renovation to ensure that it continues to provide the highest level of comfort for its residents. Support from the Fund will support these renovations, including new windows, a stairlift for wheelchairs and a panic button system.