Upholding human dignity by reaching out to the excluded
In every part of the world generally the same groups of people are isolated by society – the homeless, prisoners, ethnic minorities, drug addicts – and there are those who are pushed to its fringes, such as the elderly and disabled.
The Order of Malta’s centuries-old mission of care for the weakest reaches out to the excluded through its assistance and integration projects. It intervenes to protect the persecuted minorities such as the Rohingya community in Bangladesh or the Albinos in Burkina Faso, and promotes integration programmes for Roma people in several European countries. Traditional soup kitchens running for many years in Hungary, Great Britain, Spain and Bulgaria – among other countries – have expanded to cater for, as well as the economically disadvantaged, refugees and migrants. Each year, through its widespread network, the Order serves a total of five and a half million meals in its soup kitchens and with meals-on-wheels programmes.
In Lithuania young volunteers pay regular visits to elderly people living alone in meager conditions and great poverty. Indigenous communities of the mountainous regions of Colombia receive medical assistance. In Lebanon, a network of medical and social centers of the Order of Malta throughout the country guarantees care for the populations of many villages. An extensive programme of assistance to prisoners – developed by the American Associations of the Order – alleviates their material and spiritual needs. The Summer Camps for Young Disabled, that have been running for over 35 years and take place each summer in several European countries, promote the cultural exchange, the socialization and help young people with their families to overcome cultural and physical barriers.
There is a place for all volunteers who want to be part of the Order of Malta’s wide spectrum of social care.