The story of a dream that became a project and then reality: Make a Wish to the Sovereign Order of Malta

Lijg and Sid, October 13th 

The story of a dream that became a project and then reality for almost 1,500 Serbian children! A long journey that began last Christmas with an invitation to primary school children of the municipalities most affected by the devastating floods of 2014, to write a letter with their WISH. First deadline, sending the letters to the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Belgrade by the end of March: almost 3,500 letters received!

The second stage was the selection of the “eligible” WISHES by the Commission, composed of the Patron of the project, HRH Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic; HE Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade; by Dr. Andrea Simoncelli, Chairman of Generali Insurance- Balkans; Professor Nenad Prokic, Project Manager – Make a WISH to the Order; by Dr. Professor Aleksandra Arandjelovic, then Director of the University Medical Center Zvezdara; First Counsellor Dr. Carlo Buora and by Ambassador Alberto di Luca, as President of the Commission, which was a pleasantly high number of eligible wishes: 1,793!

From that moment began the search for sponsors, benefactors and useful initiatives for the financing of the project.

Cornerstone was the charity-dinner that took place, on  June 19th, at the Twiga restaurant of Monte Carlo (see news on other page of our website) – in the presence of the Heads of the Royal Family of Serbia, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II and his spouse Princess Katherine, specially came from Belgrade; HE Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar, Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade and President of the Episcopal Conference of Serbia, also arrived from Belgrade – and 150 benefactors, that built the solid foundation for achieving already many wishes.

Then came the valuable assistance of the friends from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taipei that, through the Taipei Representative Office in Hungary, have donated to the Embassy – in the context of a now solid and wider collaboration between Taiwan and the Order of Malta – 65 mountain bikes, 2 wheelchairs and 300 chairs and desks for young Serbian students. Very important was also the support provided by “General Insurance Serbia” which, with its contribution, allowed the purchase of a minibus.

This has led to September with sufficient funds to purchase WISHES required by almost fifteen hundred children!

A success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, which has “forced” to split in half the ceremony of delivery.

In the morning of Tuesday, October 13th, Feast of Blessed GĂ©rard – Founder and Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta – in Lijg, first in the Town Hall and then in the garden of the elementary school Sava Kerkovic, in the presence of Ambassador Alberto di Luca, the Project Manager Nenad Prokic, the Advisor to the Ambassador Sonja Spirito, Ambassador Wen-Lung Tao – arrived specially from Budapest representing Taiwan – Dr. Andrea Simoncelli, representing Generali Insurance, the Mayor of Ljig, Dragan Lazarevic, and the municipal authorities of Ub and Mionica, the children have gathered to receive the mini-bus, 42 mountain bikes, an electric wheelchair, a wheelchair for bathroom for the disabled, a support equipment for a child who is blind, 270 chairs and 110 desks, 25 lockers, 13 blackboards and even a Kit of coal for heating throughout the winter!

In the afternoon, the second ceremony was held in Sid, in the school gym of Branko Radicevic, in the presence of the Mayor Nikola Vasic and the principals of the four local schools. Here the children received 144 Laptop and 31 bicycles.

Big smiles on the faces of the children to the delight of the parents, and even a little bit of amazement from the authorities for the success of the project!

At Krupanj will be delivered musical instruments to equip a music room in which music is taught to more than 500 children. 6 bicycles and 5 Laptops will be sent in other municipalities in the area.

We renew our fervent thanks to the tireless organizers of the event in the Principality of Monaco – HRH Prince Michael of Yugoslavia, Flavio Briatore and Luca Marzocco – and to their distinguished guests, as well as to the Government of Taiwan which, once again, proved to be available for solidarity and cooperation with the humanitarian activities of the Sovereign Order of Malta, to General Insurance Serbia and to the Media Partners Politika and TV Pink, in Serbia, and RadioMonteCarlo in the Principality of Monaco.

Final preparations for the delivery of the “Make a WISH”

Belgrade, October 12th
It took a lot of work to the Embassy in Belgrade to prepare the two ceremonies of the project “Make a WISH to the Sovereign Order of Malta”. A thousand children will be gathered between Lijg and Sid tomorrow to receive their WISHES; Computers, wheelchairs, school desks, musical equipment and other, and, not least, the minibus, in the picture. The ceremonies will be followed by our media partner s “Politika” and “Pink TV”.

The Holy Father received the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic

Last September 11th, in the Vatican, the Holy Father received His Excellency Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, president of the Republic of Serbia. During the cordial meeting, among the topics discussed were the good relations between the Holy See and Serbia, Serbia’s progress towards full integration in the European Union, as well as the difficult condition of Syrian and Iraqi refugees that are crossing the borders during these recent days.
No news were given out about a possible Papal visit to Serbia, a visit that President Nikolic and his Government highly desires and for which a lot of effort has been put into by the Apostolic Nuncio in Belgrade, H.E. Msgr. Orlando Antonini, during his mission in Serbia, that is nearing to completion.
Ambassador Alberto di Luca, and all the collaborators of the Order’s Embassy in Belgrade, address a grateful and heartfelt thanks to H.E. Msgr. Antonini, for his exemplary and fruitful, diplomatic and pastoral work, always devoted to ecumenical fraternity between Catholics and Orthodox’ and to the common, spiritual and civic good of the Serbian society.

Emergency humanitarian assistance for refugees between Serbia and Hungary

Those who escape from the tragedies of war, persecution and hunger – forced, to survive, to abandon their lands and seek political asylum in another country – are always and unquestionably a humanitarian issue.
This is why the Sovereign Order of Malta, as evidenced by its millenary history – without ever considering the diversity of origins, religious faith and political orientation – is always present where the most acute is the need to help, to assist, to heal.
The “closure” of the border between Serbia and Hungary caused more serious problems and great difficulties for refugees from Syria and the surrounding areas for years ravaged by fierce fighting.
Following these sad developments, the flow of immigrants to the Europe Union will try to follow new routes and, for those who are already in Serbia, will attempt to enter via Croatia.
In spite of that, many refugees are still on the border between Serbia and Hungary.
The Order of Malta, since the beginning of this painful situation, is active in all areas involved thanks to the generous commitment of the Hungarian association and tireless leadership of the Ambassador in Budapest, the Archduke Michael von Habsburg Lothringen, that has sent, together with volunteers of the relief, vehicles as a first aid to those most in need.

Continues the collaboration between Monzino (Milan) and the hospital KBC Zvezdara (Belgrade)

Belgrade, September 10th 2015

Continues the collaboration between the only entirely cardiological hospital in Europe, the Monzino of Milan, and the University Medical Center Zvezdara of Belgrade.

A significant amount of beds and medical equipment has been in fact donated by Monzino to Zvezdara.

The official delivery has been made to the new Director, Prof. Dr. Petar Svorcan, by Ambassador Alberto di Luca and Dr. Carlo Buora, that in addition to playing the important role of First Counsellor is also the Chairman of Monzino.

Words of gratitude have been received by the vertices of the Serbian hospital together with the hope of a continuing collaboration with the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta.