The Malta Independent 22 June 2024, Saturday
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ACN in Malta: Ten years of restoring hope and rebuilding lives

Sunday, 12 May 2024, 09:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

13 May marks the 10th anniversary of Aid to the Church in Need in Malta. Ten years ago today, this Pontifical Foundation, also known as ACN (Malta), opened its office at 35/3 Mdina Road, Attard.

Ten years of restoring hope and rebuilding the lives of persecuted and discriminated Christians in various countries. These Christians have lost everything to war, poverty and persecution.

Stephen Axisa from ACN (Malta) office said: "We look back at these years with gratitude; as we have been entrusted with this life-saving task. We thank our benefactors and promoters in Malta and Gozo, whose kindness, generosity and solidarity throughout these years have enabled our organisation (VO / 2227) to fulfill our promises of commitment to these suffering Christians. They look up to us as their only source of hope and help."

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Over the past 10 years, ACN (Malta) has joined efforts with 23 other national offices of Aid to the Church in Need, which is based in Germany, to fund over 5,000 projects every year in more than 140 countries.

Over the years, ACN (Malta) assisted tens of thousands of Christian families, children, young people, the aged,  priests and nuns by giving them a chance to hope and live in very challenging situations.  Through this work, ACN has become the reason they can dare to keep on living in spite of the serious threats that assail them.

Recent ongoing projects include emergency aid for Ukraine - providing food, shelter and essential needs for displaced people as well as empowering the Ukrainian Catholic Church to care for the faithful since the start of the war.

Since October 2023, the situation for Catholics in both East Jerusalem and Gaza became instantly very critical. Christian tourism towards Jerusalem has practically stopped meaning that the Christian community that mainly earned its living from this economic sector, at a short notice became redundant. These Christians cannot earn their livelihood at the moment and they are having issues with the purchase of basic daily food and medicines, paying of rents and their children's school fees. They are also risking not only hunger and lack of education for their children, but also the threat of being driven out from their homes by landlords.

The situation in Gaza is even more critical for the Catholic community in that area. Their homes have been bombed and many of them driven out from their neighbourhoods. No work, no school and no actual earnings are leaving these Christians in a desperate situation. ACN is helping these Catholics in both East Jerusalem and Gaza to enable them to survive in these very challenging scenarios.

The influx of displaced Christians into Lebanon, coupled with the Lebanese current economic crisis, have plunged 70% of the population into poverty. ACN is working with Church partners on the ground to help those in most need, including keeping Catholic schools open by providing school supplies, hot meals for children and emergency financial assistance for teachers.

In addition to projects, ACN (Malta) is a voice for persecuted Christians by telling their stories. Recently, ACN (Malta) embarked on a series of 13 weekly TV programmes on UTV channel. Entitled Solidarjetà ma' Ħutna Ppersegwitati, these programmes, aired every Tuesday at 5.30pm, feature interesting and striking documentaries from diverse countries.

Axisa added: "We look to the future with renewed zeal and energy to further our commitment.  We humbly call on people of goodwill in Malta and Gozo to join hands with us in this life-saving work for destitute Catholics around the world."

For more information phone on 2148 7818, 7999 9969 or send an email to:[email protected]. For emergency donations to help Christians in desperate situations like Ukraine, Gaza and East Jerusalem visit https://www.acnmalta.org/donate/


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