Meeting on how Order of Malta can help Somalia
On the 18th January 2021, The Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the Republic of Kenya, Dr Franco De Paoli, held a meeting at the Embassy, and later his wife Marinella hosted a lunch at the Residency, for the Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, Mons. Giorgio Bertin (OFM). He was accompanied by Ms Sara Ben Rached, the Executive Director of Caritas Somalia. Mr. Samuel Mattock, the Diplomatic Secretary of the Embassy, was also in attendance.
The aim of the meeting was to share ideas on Somalia and to see if the Order may be able to help once again in this country.
Potential ideas were discussed, including the provision and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Reminder was made of the ground-breaking work the Order of Malta made to the fight against leprosy in the mid-seventies and beyond. Ms Ben Rached is currently doing her thesis on the contributions of NGOS in Somalia over the years, including the great works of The Order.
In 2016 the Companions of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (BASMOM) semi refurbished the hospital in Merka, delivered hospital equipment donated by the Swiss Association to the main hospital in Mogadishu, distributed blankets to the poor of Mogadishu and donated funds to Caritas to carry out their works in Brava. Mons. Bertin wrote the foreword to the final report of this work. His words are eternal:
It is with a feeling of gratitude that I write these few lines after the efforts, under very difficult circumstances, that our friends of the Order of Malta and IRF have had to undergo in order to do “something good” for the needy in Southern Somalia. I have known the Order of Malta for many years, since 1978, when I arrived to Mogadishu as a young priest. It was easier at that time to express solidarity with people in need, particularly the sick. I remember, in a special way, the activities of the Order of Malta in favour of the people with leprosy, particularly in the fluvial island near Jilib along the river Juba.
The recent activities for the hospitals of Merka, Brava and Mogadishu, fruit of multiple collaborations, are a witness that it is possible to work together despite our religious, ethnic and political differences.
May Somalia become a place where people can meet to work for the good of the local population and to learn to work together for a better humanity.
May God bless our efforts.
Mons. Giorgio Bertin