History and Government
December 1989 was the month that marked the fall of communism in Romania. For the first time in years, Romania opened its borders and showed its hidden face: the deplorable conditions in orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospitals and widespread poverty.
The people from the German Maltese Relief Service (Malteser Hilfsdienst Deutschland – MHD) realized that Romania needs long-term help. It was when volunteers from the Maltese Relief Service in Germany, Austria and Hungary first arrived in our country. Immediately after Christmas 1989 the first humanitarian shipment arrived in Timișoara, followed by other shipments in different cities.
This broad activity would not have been possible without the help of many volunteers from Romania, who responded promptly to the MHD initiative. The first Romanian volunteers helped organize the transport of humanitarian aid, unloading and distributing them, and mediated the relations with the local authorities. A general enthusiasm came upon all those who were involved in those actions. The satisfaction to be able to help, to have the power to generate a positive change, gave them the courage to establish a similar association in Romania.
The people from the Maltese Relief Service in Germany, impressed by the dedication of the Romanian volunteers, offered their full support in their endeavour. Thus, on May 11, 1991, a group of 25 well-wishers (students, priests, physicians, attorneys, lawyers), guided by the principle of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – “Defence of the faith and assistance to the poor” – put the bases of the Romanian Maltese Relief Service in Cluj-Napoca.
The desire to also get involved in other cities materialized the same year by setting up the first branches / subsidiaries of the Romanian Maltese Relief Service in Timișoara, Sf. Gheorghe, Baia Mare.
With enthusiasm and dedicated work, the organization has grown with the years. Today, after 25 years of volunteering and social projects, the Maltese Relief Service in Romania is a national organization with 17 branches and subsidiaries supported by approximately 1,000 volunteers.
The volunteers have a key role in the organization: they represent 95% of its members and their consistent dedication, energy and commitment carry on the mission of the Maltese Relief Service in Romania.