The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta was founded in Palestine around l099 to nurse the wounded and sick in the Crusades. It is the world's oldest confraternal military-religious order. From its ancient roots the Order has developed into a world-wide charitable organisation which today cares for the sick and disadvantaged in 140 countries. It has a body of more than 80,000 permanent volunteers and 11,000 doctors and nurses to deliver medical and relief aid.
The Order was established in Poland in ll87 and is the country’s oldest charitable organisation. With members and centres across the nation, the Polish Association is actively assisting the sick, supporting specialised medical and cancer units as well as youth centres. Their work varies from operating a day centre for children from broken and difficult homes to equipping and running a diagnostic cancer centre, helping in understaffed hospitals, running a school for the disabled and providing a primary health centre as well as medical and social aid to the poor and homeless.
The Polish Association also organises annual pilgrimages to Lourdes for the handicapped and summer camps for children. Through its medical and ambulance service (similar to that operated in the United Kingdom by St. John’s Ambulance) the Association is able to provide First Aid at large public events as well as training in First Aid and resuscitation. The Association also provides medical and financial support in crisis situations.
Recent projects undertaken by the Polish Association of the Order of Malta include the establishment of several aid centres for the physically and mentally disabled and a crisis intervention centre for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. The Order recently opened a diagnostic and therapy centre in Krakow for children with cerebral palsy. The centre, which is now fully operational, is the largest of its kind in Europe.
The 60 volunteers at the Association’s Oncological Out-Patient clinic in Poznan annually diagnose and treat over 5,000 patients, at no charge. Medical departments include oncology, gynaecology, radiology, internal medicine, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, psychiatry, surgery and path morphology.
The Polish Association of the Order of Malta relies on volunteers to fulfill its mission and funds are raised through donations and charity fund-raising. The Polish Order of Malta Volunteers (London) was established to assist the Association with its fundraising goals.
To read a full account of the charitable activities of the Polish Association of the Order of Malta please download the PDF “Guide to the Association’s Works” at this link: http://zakonmaltanski.pl/uploads/pages/Broszura_2009_en.pdf