Manchè Lorenzo ( 1846-1921)
Eye-specialist, Migration Counsellor
Professor Manchè graduated as a doctor of medicine in 1868, and specialised in ophthalmology in Paris. He was interested in a number of health problems, but was particularly struck by the fact that migrants with trachoma (a viral infection of the eyes) was very common and often resulted in migrants being sent back home as soon as they arrived in countries like US.
He became very involved in migrant issues and was very keen to ensure that migrants were adequately prepared to face the new conditions that they would be facing, and not send them "without capital, without help, without exact information, without the knowledge of a foreign language and without knowing if they were getting a job."
He was involved in several schemes relating to organised migration overseas, including US, Brazil and the British Commonwealth (Canada, Australia). He believed that migration was essential for the economic well-being of Malta, as well as the improvement of the individual migrants.
He was also a very charitable man, encouraging the establishment of a fund to help those who were to poor to provide adequate clothing for themselves.
He became a member of the National Assembly in 1919.
[For further information see: Profiles in Maltese Migration by Fr Lawrence E. Attard, 2003, PEG, Malta]