An initiative by the Western Cape Commandery in Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa has – during these ongoing, devastating Covid-19 times - greatly improved the visibility of our Order in many jurisdictions around the globe.

Using WHO specifications, striking masks bearing our green cross on the left cheek have been hand-crafted on order and dispatched to Commanderies in Canada, Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, Germany, the Netherlands, Malta and elsewhere in Europe.

To date, a total of 730 masks have been produced, with more in the pipeline.

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Over many years the Queensland Commandery of the Order of St Lazarus has been a significant supporter of the work of the Mission for Seafarers at the Port of Brisbane. This support by Commandery Members, through hands-on volunteering there on Sundays plus ongoing financial support, has been a feature of Commandery activity.

With the onset of the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic this work has taken on a new and more urgent importance. The seafarers' plight has worsened over the first months of 2020 as their strict onboard isolation, poor communication opportunities and inability to travel home has exacerbated already strained working arrangements. There have been significant international efforts to address deficiencies in the seafarers working and travel conditions and the Commandery is glad to be associated with recent opportunities for relief and hope for those in need.

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Despite being socially distanced by the sheer geographic size of the country, members of the Grand Priory in Canada have been able to continue with our mandate of service during the past four months.

As our primary focus has been the provision of funding and resources for hospice palliative care & end of life care, the scourge of COVID has meant that both our online Home Care Giver’s support programme and our publication ‘A Caregiver’s Guide’ have been much appreciated by families throughout the country. The practical information has helped many families as they navigate end of life in these unprecedented times.

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A few weeks ago, we distributed and published a description of how to manufacture a protective hood for nursing staff and emergency medical workers against a corona virus infection, on the initiative of our hospitaller, Confrere Prof. Dr. Joachim Gardemann. Prof. Gardemann is the director of the center of excellence for humanitarian aid at the "University of Applied Sciences" in Münster and has great experience in international humanitarian aid.

The volunteers of the CoroNO-team wrote the document with drawings and measurements in German and at the same time had an international version created in English using a "native translator". The description was prepared by the authors for publication so that it can be viewed on the publicly accessible Internet pages of the Order and made available for free download.

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The Order of St. Lazarus in Sweden has for several years supported the Fountain House Foundation, an organization which helps individuals suffering from mental illness.

The core concept of the Fountain House Foundation is to identify and improve the mentally sound qualities of individuals suffering from mental illness and try to heal them through work in the community. The members participate voluntarily in the activities of the foundation and contribute according to their own ability. The aim is to break their social isolation, structure their daily lives, provide them with the opportunity to work with meaningful tasks; important aspects which ultimately make the members part of the community and strengthen their self-esteem. All kinds of tasks are included in the daily operations of the Fountain House Foundation and they are carried out by the members themselves. These are chores such as cooking, cleaning and running the reception etc. Membership of the foundation is voluntary and free.

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