Since mid-November 2022, three mobile teams have been working in and around Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Beregova in western Ukraine, providing psychosocial support to displaced children and young people. The project is run by Malteser International and Johanniter International Assistance – the international aid services of the Order of Malta and of the Johanniter Order. The teams are staffed by the Ukraine Relief Service of the Order of Malta. For their work, six vehicles were purchased and filled with materials for group games, creative activities, as well as therapeutic games and toys for young children to create the right environment for providing mental health support.
„This project is important because it will help heal the invisible wounds that this war has left on hundreds of thousands of children and young people,“ said H.E. Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis, Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta – the member of the Order’s government responsible for charitable and social works. “I am very pleased to see all of us joining forces to fulfil our mission to help people in need. It is a sign of unity, which is needed now more than ever. When the world is divided by conflict and uncertainty, it is all the more important that we Christians stand firmly as one family behind the cross, and shoulder to shoulder with those who need our support.”
The six vehicles will be on the road with the logos of the five organizations, all bearing the white eight-pointed cross. „This symbol is widely known as a sign of hope and safety for people in need. It stands for a vision of human dignity, especially in times and places of suffering,“ said Christian Meyer-Landrut, a member of the Federal Board of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. The project, which will run until mid-2023, is funded by the German Association of the Sovereign Order of Malta, as well as the Order of Malta Austrian Relief Service; the Johanniter Orders in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, as well as the Swiss Johanniter Relief Service; and the Commonwealth Order of St. John.
(Source: Project Rhodes Press Release, 23 January 2023)