Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


Germany: poverty and old age, a combination in worrying growth

Solidarity campaign organized by Malteser and Caritas for the Fourth World Day of the Poor
Germany: poverty and old age, a combination in worrying growth

In Germany, some 16% of over 65-year-olds are at risk of poverty. For the Fourth World Day of the Poor on 15th November Malteser Deutschland with the German Caritas wanted to draw attention to the fate of the poor and marginalized in the country and in particular the elderly, where a lack of economic means produces isolation and exclusion.

“Poverty in old age has many different faces. In our day-to-day work we meet elderly people who have practically no social contact,” says Sabrina Odijk, head of Malteser volunteers. “In many cases, there is also material poverty. These people are thus doubly affected by the Covid19 pandemic and suffer both in body and soul. With our visits and accompanying services we help out whenever necessary and we have scaled up our activities for the World Day of the Poor”. “Poverty in old age is unfortunately a growing risk in Germany,” says Peter Neher, president of Caritas, “and this is very sad”.

On 15th November the “poverty weeks” cycle finished, during which the Order of Malta in Germany carried out some 20 campaigns for the poor or marginalized nationwide. For example, in some German cities, the so-called “wellbeing mornings” were organized. In Hamburg, besides a cup of coffee, some 280 people in need received a gift package with food, masks and personal hygiene products. Because of Covid19, the much-appreciated services of previous years, such as hairdressers, barbers or essential beauty treatments were not possible this year, so a veterinary visit was offered to all those who came accompanied by a four-legged friend.

For the World Day of the Poor instituted by Pope Francis, this year the Order of Malta organized numerous initiatives in the countries where it is active, just as it did for the three previous editions.