Ukraine: Healing invisible wounds together

Johanniter and Malteser jointly care for traumatized children and adolescents in Ukraine 

Cologne/Berlin/Lviv: The traumatic experiences that people in Ukraine are exposed to on a daily basis leave their mark. The ongoing uncertainty about their future life in Ukraine further intensifies these traumas. This is a particularly stressful situation for children and young people. For this reason, the five modern branches of the medieval Hospitaller Order have joined forces again to work together on a project. The goal: to help affected people come to terms with their experiences. 


Psychosocial care in western Ukraine 

Since mid-November, 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 supported by Malteser International and Johanniter International Assistance. The Ukraine Relief Service of the Order of Malta is responsible for the operational implementation. For their work, six vehicles were purchased and filled with materials for group games, creative activities, and therapeutic games and toys for young children to create the right environment for mental health support.  

"This project is important because it will help heal the invisible wounds that this war has left on many children and young people," said H.E. Fra' Alessandro de Franciscis, Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta, who is the member of the Order's government responsible for charitable and social works. "I am particularly pleased that we are joining forces and working together to help people in need. It is a sign of unity. When the world is divided by conflict and insecurity, it is all the more important that we as Christians stand firmly as one family behind the cross and stand by those who need our support."

One family behind the cross

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's Austrian Relief Service, the Order of St. John in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as the Swiss Relief Service of the Order of St. John, and the Order of St. John, which is widespread in the Commonwealth. 
Together, these orders all represent legitimate successors to the original Hospitaller Order dedicated to St. John, founded to serve the poor and sick in Jerusalem before the First Crusade. The orders' relief ministries operate throughout the world, where they help millions of people in need each year, without regard to their origin, religion, politics or nationality. 

Malteser International: Malteser International (MI) works as an international humanitarian relief organization. It is an aid organization of the Catholic Order of Malta and particularly fulfills the order's mission of "helping those in need". For more than 60 years, its core mission has been to improve the health and living conditions of suffering and displaced people worldwide. MI provides acute emergency and disaster relief, accompanies the necessary reconstruction. and provides sustainable support to those affected on the ground.
Johanniter International Assistance: Humanitarian aid abroad is a statutory task of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e. V. It is implemented by Johanniter International Assistance in more than 20 countries worldwide. The focus of the aid is on improving medical care and emergency and immediate aid after natural disasters.