Caritas Australia is the Catholic agency for international aid and development and is a member of Caritas Internationalis, the second largest humanitarian network in the world. Caritas Australia's mandate is to work with the poorest of the poor irrespective of their race, gender or religion. Caritas supports long-term development programs in impoverished communities in Africa, Asia, East Timor, Latin America, Indigenous Australia and the Pacific - helping oppressed people to rediscover their dignity by taking greater control over their lives and overcoming poverty.
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has formed a Caritas Team in order to liaise with parish and school groups, as well as providing administrative support to assist this important arm of the church.
Each year, parishes and all 55 Catholic schools in the diocese also participate in the major annual awareness and fundraising appeal for Caritas - Project Compassion - which runs during the six weeks of lent in the lead up to Easter.
Project Compassion aims to educate local communities by providing an enhanced appreciation and awareness of the interrelationship of all peoples and what can be accomplished when people work together in partnership. Caritas Australia educates Australians in schools, universities, parishes and community groups by raising awareness of the reality and causes of poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice.
Caritas Australia's work includes :
- Responding to emergencies such as the current food crisis in East Africa
- Implementing Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, particularly in the Pacific Islands, where villagers are experiencing rising sea levels
- Helping farmers with sustainable agricultural practices, such as the Farmer Field School in Nepal
- Building water catchments in regions like Ethiopia, so communities have access to fresh, clean water and are able to grow crops
- Providing access to education and workshops in regions of South-East Asia, so vulnerable people can learn new skills
- Training rural midwives in quality antenatal, delivery and postnatal care for women in rural areas
- Alleviating poverty in Indigenous Australia through projects such as the Tjanpi Desert Weavers which generate an income and provide sustainable development opportunities for women in rural communities.
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