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


Order of Malta’s Meryem Centre for children with disabilities in Morocco

Order of Malta’s Meryem Centre  for children with disabilities in Morocco

Opened almost a year ago, the Meryem Centre for children with disabilities has already become an important point of reference for many Moroccan families in the Middle Atlas region and is the Order of Malta’s first healthcare facility in Morocco.

The project was launched in 2022 by the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to Morocco, Julien Brunie, with the aim of opening a centre to address a very serious problem in an area in great need of support. The town of Midelt, in the Middle Atlas region, was chosen because it was large enough (55,000 inhabitants) and had a high percentage of children with motor disabilities, many of them without assistance. Furthermore, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary have been active here since 1926 and now one of the sisters, trained in social assistance and physiotherapy, runs the centre on a daily basis. The Notre Dame de l’Atlas Monastery, housing the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine, has granted the use of a small building in the monastery grounds for a symbolic rent.

Starting with six children, today the centre accommodates almost 20, offering them individual physiotherapy sessions, but above all a welcoming environment so they do not feel marginalized and their dignity is protected. It is a place designed to improve their health and living conditions, also thanks to braces and other orthopaedic aids. Since October 2023, a renowned French neuro-paediatrician, has become an adviser to the centre, providing strategic guidance to the team and regular remote medical sessions with the young patients. The long-term goal is to increasingly involve families by sharing activities, occasionally providing meals and making the centre a place of authentic social and spiritual aggregation.