Belgrade, march 8 2021
The Sovereign Order of Malta has the millennium old history of assistance to the poor, the weak, the sick, the elderly and the lonely.
In Serbia, the Embassy of the Sovereign Order in Belgrade has promoted various humanitarian initiatives together with programs of instruction and formation, for adolescents and orphans in particular.
Parents and medical staff, giving assistance to children carrying difficult pathologies that require special treatment or in need of surgery that requires significant and rare skills, during the year 2021, have the possibility of informing the Embassy of the Order of Malta in Belgrade of their situation and their needs.
In 2015 the project launched by the Embassy under the name of “Make a WISH to the Sovereign Order of Malta”, financed by the successful Charity-Dinner held in the Principality of Monaco, has reached 1.500 children from the areas hardly stricken by floods in 2014.
The positive results have encouraged us to repeat the same initiative in 2016 with a new “Make a WISH to the Order of Malta” destined to children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. The beneficiaries of the 2016 project live in two institutes: The children’s and youth Institution in Sremcica (near Belgrade), a public institution giving shelter to up to three hundred people of different ages, and the House for people with mental disabilities of the Monastery of the Orthodox Serbian Church “St. Petka” in the village of Izvor (near Paracin in central Serbia) that can host up to ninety-two females, also of different ages.
WISHES such as medical equipment for faster and better diagnosis in Izvor, and large amounts of clothes in Sremcica have thus become reality. Furthermore, industrial washing and drying machines have been delivered to both Izvor and Sremcica to improve the hygienic conditions. Izvor has also received a fully equipped ambulance while in Sremcica finally arrived a long-awaited minivan, together with other minor WISHES.
In 2017, the project encouraged by the highest authorities of the Sovereign Order of Malta and Serbia, has provided surgical operations in private hospitals for difficult medical cases that could not be resolved in the country in a timely manner due to long waiting lists in the public hospitals with the financial aid of the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta. During 2017 we have given help to six children in need of simple surgical interventions – that could have been performed only after long waiting time – or complex surgical operations as in case with our little Sandra.
The year 2018 began with granting of a medical device WISH for the Institution St. Petka in Izvor, where we returned in March to grant another WISH related to the need for another medical device.
From July 11, we started collaboration with the Union of the blind Serbia (http://www.savezslepih.org.rs) where we returned on October 13 to deliver one of their most useful and desired WISHES – a Braille printing machine.
Sometimes even a car – indispensable in community – can be a WISH that deserves our attention, so we delivered it on July 27 to Mother Superior Glikerija from the Center St. Petka. In the end, two surgical operations – one of them particularly delicate – in November and December. And for the first time the intervention was carried out to an 85-year-old lady in Nis.
Now we are in 2019. In addition to various humanitarian initiatives, we wanted again to organize an important Charity Dinner: target 150 guests. The final balance: 292 persons physically present and 16 “virtual”! An important success for those in Serbia who were counting on this evening.
An excellent result made even more consistent thanks to numerous sponsors and the silent auction.
During the evening the Ambassador Alberto di Luca and the Delegate Niccolò D’Aquino expressed gratitude to all who were present, thanked the sponsors and two persons in particular: Prof Antonio Bartorelli , Director of the Interventional Cardiology Unit in the Monzino Cardiology Center for having operated a patient from Belgrade who had sent the request to the Embassy for his “complex” WISH, and the Canadian soprano Claire Coolen who performed, for the last three years, on the stage of the National Theater in Belgrade on the occasion of our National Day.
With the exceptional results obtained, it was possible to support some initiatives of the Lombard Delegation of the Sovereign Order of Malta, but above all to welcome WISHES coming from Serbia and children in need of special care and from the St. Petka Institute in Izvor which houses 92 girls with psychophysical disabilities.
2020. The year we will all remember for the Covid-19 tragedy. Naturally, special attention has been given to the pandemic and the terrible consequences, especially for those in greatest need. We had thousands of masks made and delivered throughout the year. We were asked for some breathing masks that we found in Italy and sent to Belgrade. We have supported all the time “A Hot meal in a Cold Winter” project and as part of the “Make a WISH” we have, for the first time, organized a delicate surgery outside the borders of Serbia: in Turkey.
It was also the year in which we received a “Make a WISH” request from the Clinical Center of the Republic of Serbia. Their desire was to introduce a new procedure into the clinical practice – Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) which is used to relieve pain and spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. For these young patients, the only possibility for medical treatment was to be sent abroad, at the expenses of the National Health Service. Very expensive treatment of Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy is a surgical method that partially intersects certain sensitive fibers in the spinal canal. The Clinical Center has a specialized team cooperating with foreign experts who will help them establish this procedure here in Serbia. Before they begin, they need to acquire a 16-channel Intraoperative neuro-monitoring system. This device – once the project is completed – will allow treatments in Serbia with evident clinical advantages thus saving funds that can be allocated to those patients who need surgery abroad.
Medical device is manufactured in the United States and it costs several tens of thousands of euros. “Make a WISH” of the Clinical Center was to have the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Belgrade as determined partner in this project, together with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia.
The Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta received this decision with undisguised enthusiasm. To achieve this goal, it was necessary to contact our loyal partners always ready to support our initiatives: LDS Charities Serbia as well as Manpower Group Serbia (including personal participation of the Director Mr. Hangimana).
With these experiences, always encouraged by the Faith and the mission of the Order, also in 2021 with the “Make a Wish to the Order of Malta” we will try to help as many people as possible with priority towards the weakest, children and orphans.
The abovementioned cases should be priorly reported to the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Belgrade, with a detailed written description of the pathology, drawn by the medical staff (doctor or hospital) in charge of the case (text preferably in English language).