The origins of SOS Malta commenced within the field of overseas humanitarian and development work. SOS Malta has operated various relief missions and development projects in various overseas countries. It has also taken up a number of initiatives both locally and abroad to promote the MDGs and development policy.
SOS Malta came into being in 1991, after the tragic exodus of Albanian refugees to the shores of Italy and Malta. It was then a voluntary organisation set up under the auspice of the Emigrants Commission, with the objective of assisting Albanian refugees and their families, especially through projects of a social and charitable nature. Throughout the 1990's SOS Malta was active in Albania and Kosovo, working in Palliative Care, Education, and Community Development. SOS Malta was also involved in managing a Refugee Camp during the Kosovo crisis in 1999 and in the repatriation of refugees.
In 2004, SOS Malta formed part of the Malta Tsunami Humanitarian Mission to Sri Lanka, where it set up a fully operational clinic in Matara, Sri Lanka, offering immediate medical relief to over 3000 persons. The SOS Malta medical team also visited local displaced people in the camps to offer medical aid and other essential commodities. SOS Malta also sought to provide recovery and sustainable livelihood assistance, and managed to help over 600 families in various villages by rebuilding their income-generating activities.
Myanmar, Palestine, Haiti and Libya featured among the latest humanitarian interventions made by SOS Malta, in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
In recent years, SOS Malta has focused its long term development interventions on aspects of water-related poverty, building significant expertise in rain-water harvesting solutions and applying it within countries like India, Sri Lanka and more recently Uganda.
The benefits of rainwater harvesting have been long underestimated. And yet, it is one of the simplest and most inexpensive methods which can be adopted to contribute to the attainment of the MDG7- access to safe drinking water by 2015, in areas where people have no access to reliable sources of water.
In addition to satisfying immediate human needs related to thirst, clean and reliable water supports food gardens, the keeping of livestock, processing of crops, fishing and small-scale economic enterprises, a reliable nearby source of water frees up time previously spent by children and women in water collection, resulting in improved school attendance and women's involvement in activities that increases the well-being of themselves and their families. RWH projects have the potential of empowering people to improve their livelihoods, providing them with more security and new choices.
In 2009, SOS Malta, began to work in Uganda for the first time with the support of Malta's Official Development Assistance. SOS Malta travelled to the Masaka District of Namagoma, Uganda, to implement a rainwater harvesting (RWH) project as an entry point to community development. The work was centrally focused around the primary school St. Kizito. Since 2009, SOS Malta has returned to Uganda annually to extend its work in new areas.
Development education & raising awareness on development
Throughout the 1990s, SOS Malta gave talks in schools in Malta and Overseas about its work in Albania and Kosovo, and promoted the concept of volunteerism towards facilitating emergency aid and relief missions, as well as attaining sustainable development within communities.
Since the year 2002, SOS Malta adopted an even stronger role in initiatives aimed at creating awareness about the Millennium Development Goals and development issues. SOS Malta has been involved in a number of EU Funded European Level Development education projects as well as engaging in dialogue and awareness raising on development issues at national level.
In 2011, SOS Malta began a campaign to raise awareness about water as a development issue, whilst raising funds to support the work that SOS Malta is undertaking in Uganda. For more information please visit http://www.maltawalksforwater.org/
For more information about the various humanitarian, development and development education projects which SOS Malta has been involved in, refer to the list in the right hand menu.