Who we are
Caritas Asia is one of the seven Regional Offices under the Confederation of Caritas Internationalis (CI). Its establishment came about when the Asian members of the confederation decided to establish a regional office in Asia, during the General Assembly of CI in 1999 in Rome. With the endorsement and approval of the CI General Assembly on the same year, Caritas Asia was subsequently constituted as the regional office of the CI confederation in Asia. Since then, CA has been serving as the regional coordinating office of all the member organizations operating in countries and territories in the Asian continent.
Where we are in Asia
Caritas Member Organizations in Asia participated in the last Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 3 – 6 July 2018.
The three-day Conference attracted 3,500 people to the Mongolian capital from over 1,500 organizations including representatives from more than 50 countries. At the opening ceremony, Prime Minister of Mongolia, Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, issued a powerful call for the countries of the region to work together to reduce disaster losses. “The pursuit of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is a clear necessity for this region,”he said..
Caritas was represented by Caritas India, Caritas Bangladesh, Caritas Nepal, KMSS-Caritas Myanmar and Caritas Mongolia, as well as CRS of Bangladesh and Nepal offices, with support from KARINA, Caritas Germany, Caritas Australia and Caritas Internationalis.
Our participation aimed to showcase Caritas’ work in building community resilience against disaster risks in the region through presentations of Community Engagement in Building Back Better (India), A Guide For Practitioners and an example of Facilitating Community-led Disaster Risk Management (DRM) planning (Bangladesh) as well as Experience and Challenges of Dzud Response (Mongolia) during the Side Event, Market Place and Ignite Stage sessions respectively.
Father Pierrot Kasemuana, Executive Director of Caritas Mongolia, stated that this event is very strategic and served as an opportunity to put Mongolia on “the map of disaster risk reduction” efforts in the region. Caritas confederation, represented by Father Pierrot Kasemuana, strongly called for a global approach to address the root cause during the Official Statement session, “Building back better will remain ineffective and inefficient unless there is a global approach of integral human development in addressing the root causes of the ecological and environmental problems which are political in nature, strongly influencing the humanitarian situation”.
The conference was officially closed on 6 July 2018 with a shared commitment from all attendants to contribute to the implementation of Sendai Framework.
UNISDR, 6 July 2018
"Think of me when you see a migrant in your community"
Quote from a participant of the conference who happens to also be a migrant
Caritas Asia organized the Asia Regional Conference for Caritas’ global campaign “Share the Journey” in Bangkok, Thailand, on 11-13 June 2018. The conference was attended by 105 staff of the Caritas Member Organizations in Asia, Global Partners, CI, and Caritas network in Asia, including Archbishop Isao Kikuchi, the President of Caritas Asia, and Mr. Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.
After the opening Mass, Archbishop Isao shared in his opening remarks, “This year’s forum is anchored on our Confederation’s global migration campaign, “Share the Journey”. We have chosen this as our theme, because it is very fitting for our region. Asia also hosts the largest undocumented flow of migrants in the world, mainly between neighboring countries. This phenomenon indeed demonstrates just how big of a thing migration is in our region.”
Cardinal Tagle, who could not attend the event in Asia, sent an inspiring recorded message from Brazil to participants of the Conference. He shared, “I have a journey. You have a journey. By that encounter, we hope we can share the journey. We can walk together. We can protect one another. We can promote the human dignity of the migrant. We can defend them, and we can integrate them into the wider society.”
Mr. Michel Roy, in his keynote address shared the concrete realization that we are one human family. Another realization was that even people born in a difficult place, should be able to live a dignified life. And thus, here is an invitation for all of us to grow with others, regardless of the affluence or depressed areas.
He added that Caritas is called to transform the world, to humanize the world and put the human first. We can also serve to inspire the world. The quality of Caritas’ engagement is the barometer of our own humanity. This translates into the way we meet and welcome migrants and this will bring the collective consciousness to a higher level so that the efforts will go on even after the campaign.
Following the keynote address, Nuncio Paul Tschang launched the Share the Journey exhibition from the four sub regions in Asia.
Later in the day, Leeza of Caritas India, also representing CI Global Campaign Working Group, shared during her presentation how international migration has become one of the greatest challenges of our time and it is a crisis, not in the crisis of migration, but as a crisis of global solidarity.
Father John Murray of NCCM-Caritas Thailand, also reminded the conference participants during his presentation on the 20 Action Points --The Church’s Principles and Guidelines on Working with Migrants and Refugees,“We are much more than just an NGO, as we work to help people and build a better world. We have a firm foundation; our faith. So these 20 action points which are principles for our action with and for migrants remain ever in place, knowing them to be not just unreachable goals in some ideal reality”.
The conference participants engaged in group discussions on migration issues and initiatives in the region, which was followed by presentation sharing from the four sub regions in Asia on what their plans to contribute to the Global Week of Action.
The reality of the cause for the global campaign took shape as participants listened to the sharing from seven migrant workers and urban refugees who found their way to Thailand. These brave people represented the unspoken heroes of the campaign. Although it was upsetting to learn that migrants have been through much hardship and endured unimaginable pain, and there was still fear in their hearts, they had pushed through in search of positive change. Most have learnt to empower themselves, and find ways to make a living and care forothers:
“As an immigrant, I learnt to be a hustler to survive, and importantly, now I learn how to teach in order to support the community. Anger and vengeance takes too much from a person; drains you of energy and it is not motivating. So now, every day I am turning my negatives into positives”
Share the Journey is a Caritas led global campaign aimed at bringing migrants and communities closer together. The 2-year campaign was launched by Pope Frances on 27 September 2017 from St. Peter’s Square in Rome. For more on Share the Journey, please visit journey.caritas.org.
“Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It’s a disgrace that people are treated as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned” - Pope Francis (Source: Catholic news Services Dec 12, 2013).
Ms. Rosy (Changed name), a human trafficking survivor from Myanmar, was invited to share her heartfelt story of how she was trafficked and exploited to work in a rubber plantation in Mya Wa Di border (Myanmar, close to Thai border) after her husband was bribed using beers. She managed to escape after she was connected with the task force.
Fighting human trafficking is not a sole responsibility of one person or one institution as stressed by Mr. Jirawat Chenpasuk of Caritas Thailand that trafficking is transnational crime. Thus, it is imperative to collaborate, strengthen our collective voice, and maximize our resources.
Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) organized Blue Heart Campaign on a World day against Human Trafficking with a straightforward objective “To educate people participation to end modern slavery”. The event was held on People’s Square and People’s Park of Yangon, Myanmar on August 6, 2017 and was able to attract around 800 people from various ages and groups to support the campaign, including Anti- Trafficking Task Force of Yangon, Myanmar, Sisters of Good Shepherd Community, Caritas Members and Partners (Cambodia, Vietnam, Macau, Singapore, Spain, Thailand) and mass media.
Besides stickers, t-shirts and posters, the attendants also learned more about the cause, impact and ways to prevent human trafficking through games and songs by popular local singers who share their concerns on human trafficking. There were booths hosted by different agencies, such as KMSS, GMS-Anti Trafficking Task Force of Caritas in Asia Region, ISSARA Institute, IOM, GSMF, FED, RATNA MAHAL Education Care Group and the Anti Trafficking Task Force of Yangon Region that provided more information based on their experiences respectively.
This special occasion is hoped to raise public awareness and to empower the vulnerable people, particularly women and children, and strengthen their ties with many key stakeholders who are working in combating human trafficking.
Caritas Bangladesh has its headquarters in the capital, Dhaka and has eight other diocesan offices. It works in integrated development, disaster management and human resource development. Nearly 6 000 staff and volunteers implement its programmes at national and diocesan level.
Caritas Bangladesh began in 1967 as Caritas East Pakistan. Following the devastating cyclone of November 1970, it was re-organised and became known as the Christian Organisation for Relief and Rehabilitation (CORR). The name Caritas was re-introduced in 1976.
Caritas Bangladesh is implementing over 80 on-going projects based around 4 main priorities:
Education, formation and capacity building: programmes in regional technical schools, training centres, pre-primary and primary schools.
Social justice and human rights: programmes in justice & peace, micro-finance, supporting vulnerable youth and community development.
Health and care: helping the elderly and disabled people, those struggling with addiction or suffering from leprosy and tuberculosis, pregnant and new mothers and their children.
Sustainable livelihood and disaster management: working to end extreme poverty, to combat climate change through adaptation and risk reduction, to improve horticulture and the management of natural resources.
Many Caritas members are among Caritas Bangladesh’s partners, including Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Taiwan, CRS, Canada, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Macau, Indonesia, Portugal, CAFOD, Cordaid, SCIAF and Secours Catholique.
Caritas India was founded in 1962 and has been working ever since for the emancipation of the underprivileged and the marginalized irrespective of their caste, creed, ethnicity and religion. In the last fifty years, Caritas India has reached out to millions of poor and helped them overcome poverty and deprivation.
Its major programmes are in the management of natural resources, emergency response, community health, equality, peace building and promoting the rights of indigenous communities. Caritas India works to strengthen civil society organisations in partnership with the government and over 350 NGOs across the country. The network is coordinated by 5 regional offices and can call on 250,000 vibrant volunteers.
Caritas India has worked with many international Caritas partner organisations such as Caritas Germany, Caritas Netherlands (Cordaid), Caritas France, Caritas Japan, Caritas Denmark, Caritas Ireland-Trocaire, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Spain, Caritas Italy, Caritas Austria, Caritas Australia, Caritas Korea, Caritas England and Wales-CAFOD, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Portugal, Caritas Scotland and Caritas Switzerland.
Caritas Nepal was founded in 1990 by the Catholic Church to respond to the devastating floods and other natural disasters that occurred. Beginning as a 3 member team the agency has grown and expanded their range of services and today operates in 50 of the 75 districts in Nepal. As the social arm of Catholic Church in Nepal, Caritas Nepal aims to apply animation and sector specific participatory approaches to empower the poor, women, marginalised, and disadvantaged people to reduce poverty, secure humanitarian assistance to refugees and in times of emergency and conflict, and realise social justice and peace.
One of the main intervention areas of Caritas Nepal is to promote sustainable agriculture to enable small farmer households to realise food security and sustainable livelihoods, as about two thirds of the population is dependent on agriculture for livelihood. Collaborating with Caritas Australia, they implemented a national campaign, “IPM Program for Small Farmers”, in 24 districts of Nepal to distribute seeds, promote the use of vermin-composting and animal waste for organic fertilizers, and advocate for small farmers to improve their household food security, incomes, and farming sustainability.
Another major focus of Caritas Nepal’s work, in a country prone to natural disasters, lies in preparedness and emergency relief. After flash floods and landslides were triggered by heavy rains in 2009, displacing an estimated 2,500 households, Caritas Nepal mobilised teams to provide emergency supplies in the form of food and non-food items to families in need. Once the flood waters receded, Caritas Nepal initiated livelihood assistance and sustainable food security programmes to help them recover from the significant loss of food stocks and livestock.
In addition, Caritas Nepal instituted a national programme on prevention of trafficking and HIV/AIDS, through measures such as awareness-raising sessions, a radio programme and street drama. Smaller projects, often carried out through partner agencies, include skills development, savings and credit programmes, and education programmes for children displaced by the war.
Caritas Nepal main office in Kathmandu employs around 20 staff and volunteers to carry out the agency’s activities.
As a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia, Caritas Nepal has collaborated with Caritas Germany, Caritas Australia, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Austria, Caritas Italy, Caritas France, Caritas Korea, Caritas Singapore and Caritas Japan.
Caritas Pakistan was established in 1965. Through time, it advanced from a relief work organisation into a development organisation. What makes it unique throughout the country is its ongoing presence in communities, before, during and after crisis situations, serving the poor, children, women and men of all races and religions. Caritas empowers people to participate fully in all matters affecting their lives, and it advocates on their behalf at national and international forums.
Its mandate includes integral development, advocacy, peace building, respect for human rights, support for proper stewardship of the environment and emergency relief. As regards to all calamities and disaster occurring in Pakistan, its main interventions in this area are: Emergency Response and Preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction, Livelihood, Peace Building, Capacity Building and Health and WASH Project.
Major development projects include Rehabilitation of Nagarparker in the South of Pakistan in the year 2000 (Construction of Dams, Water tanks and Reservoirs). It also played a key role being part of the consortium of agencies delivering a multi-million dollar programme for support to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Caritas Pakistan is active in the rehabilitation of the victims of the earthquake of October 2005, the massive floods of 2010, 2011 and 2012. In the rehabilitation phase, Caritas Pakistan is involved in the sectors of Health, Livelihood and Shelter.
Food for all, climate change, tree plantation and disaster awareness are relevant campaigns carried out by the organisation. These and other activities are implemented through the seven diocesan units and the National Secretariat, with the work of its nationwide staff plus 5000 volunteers.
Major partners include confederation members, UN agencies, humanitarian organizations as well as government associated organizations.
Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC is the social arm of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. The Social & Economic Development Centre (SEDEC) was founded in 1968 by Rev. Fr. Joe Fernando, a missionary priest who was motivated by the social teachings of the Church and the need to serve the poor and marginalized sectors of society. Over the years, SEDEC has grown and expanded its services and is now the National Centre of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development. It has a countrywide network of 13 diocesan centres covering all the districts of Sri Lanka.
The extensive range of Caritas Sri Lanka’s programmes and campaigns include:
- Assisting post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation in the North and East of Sri Lanka through housing, livelihood creation, psychosocial support and community empowerment.
- Promoting social justice and sustainable peace in post-war Sri Lanka.
- The Safe Migration programme – protection of the rights of Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East and assistance to migrant returnees.
- Bridge-building among communities to create understanding, trust and acceptance.
- Integral human development through community empowerment.
- Community Based Disaster Preparedness Programme.
- Child Rights and Child Protection Programme
- Study of human dignity from the perspectives of different religions
- Educational scholarships for deserving poor children
- Gender awareness programmes.
- Human rights education programmes.
- Water management and conservation programme in rural and remote areas of Sri Lanka.
- Green Gold Harvest programme to empower plantation populations living on tea estates.
- Awareness programmes on the Recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka.
- Awareness programmes on drug and alcohol abuse.
- Emergency relief for people affected by natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and landslides.
- Programmes to protect the rights of fishermen.
Caritas Sri Lanka’s national centre is located in the Archdiocese of Colombo. The agency employs 60 national staff and 210 volunteers to carry out its services to the far corners of the island through the 13 diocesan centres.
Caritas Sri Lanka’s work involves collaboration with Caritas Internationalis members such as Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Caritas Australia, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Korea, Caritas Denmark, Caritas England & Wales (CAFOD), Caritas Spain, Caritas France (Secours Catholique), Caritas Germany, Caritas Italy, Caritas Japan, Caritas Luxembourg, Caritas Norway, Caritas Poland, Caritas Portugal, Caritas Scotland (SCIAF), Caritas Slovenia, Caritas Sweden, Caritas Switzerland, Catholic Relief Services USA and Caritas Singapore-CHARIS.
Caritas Cambodia is the social development arm of the Catholic Church in Cambodia and has been built on the values of Love, Concern, Peace, Unity, Sharing and Brotherhood. Caritas Cambodia first began its work in Cambodia in 1972 to help the victims of war, and functioned until 1975 when it was forced to leave the country. After the interruption during the years of the Khmer Rouge regime and the following years of conflict, Caritas Cambodia was re-established in 1990.
Caritas helps the poorest of the poor. We focus on the most disadvantaged, displaced, and vulnerable people and communities. Caritas works in solidarity with all people of good will and similar vision, and assists the poor solely on the basis of need, and not creed. We strive to promote human dignity, alleviate suffering, and foster charity, justice, and peace. We currently work in 12 provinces and support Village Development Associations in over 300 villages.
Since 2016 Caritas Cambodia has been developing its new strategic framework (2017-2021). As we enter into the next five years, Caritas Cambodia is committed to continue focusing and working with the poor, to empower them, promote justice, and integral development. Under its new framework, the vision, mission statement and guiding values have been slightly revised but built on the same foundation of serving the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable communities. Our strategic framework (2017-2021) covers five pillars:
- Emergency Response, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, and Ecological Protection: An efficient and effective Disaster Management ensuring rapid response and Disaster risk Reduction and Ecological Protection
- Integral Human Development (IHD): Improve quality of lives of the poor through an integral development process
- Anti-human trafficking and Migration: Ensure safe migration and ending modern slavery
- Advocacy and Communication : Effective Communication and Advocacy
- Good governance : Effective and strong governance on humanitarian and social development work for the poor and vulnerable communities
A just society where the rights of the people, especially the poor and marginalized are respected and integral human development is attained
In order to achieve this vision, Caritas will be an institution to
- Contribute to enhance, promote; and protect human dignity of the poor
- Liberate them from the clutch of poverty.
- Commit to empower the poor through animation and holistic, inclusive development
Our work and achievement would not have been possible without the support of all partners from Caritas family and other partners/donors who have supported us financially and spiritually. Thank and convey our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all the partners/donors.
“We are committed to continue delivering lasting change to the poorest communities. The support from all donors and partners helps us to move forward our vision and mission”.
For more information about Caritas Cambodia, visit our website www.caritascambodia.org.
KARINA or Caritas Indonesia is officially registered as a Foundation. It was established on 17th May, 2006 by the Bishop Conference of Indonesia as a humanitarian arm body of the Indonesian Catholic Church.
The given mandate of KARINA is as a center of coordination, facilitation and animation of the humanitarian services of the Indonesia Catholic Church. In responding to humanitarian needs, KARINA works closely with Diocesan Caritas or other Socio-pastoral Commissions of the dioceses.
KARINA’s works focus on provision of humanitarian needs of the people affected by disasters, natural as well as human made disaster. In responding to the people in need, KARINA commits to promote peace, justice, human rights and interreligious dialogue in humanitarian action.
Since its establishment in May 2006, KARINA has been actively involving in humanitarian services, such as emergency response, management of disaster risk reduction, building resilience community living in prone areas of disaster, providing capacity building for Diocesan Caritas staff and community’s facilitators. KARINA and its networks present across Indonesia, represented by 37 Dioceses.
Goal of the last 5 years strategic plan of KARINA (2013-2017) is that ‘people who are living in prone areas of disasters become more resilient in managing disaster risk and are able to recover and restoring their dignified life. To achieve this goal, in collaboration with local Caritas and Dioceses, KARINA has been implementing various project services in the Dioceses (Sibolga, Medan, Palembang, Tanjungkarang, Bandung, Purwokerto, Semarang, Surabaya, Ruteng, Maumere, Ende, Larantuka, Kupang, Amboina, Jayapura, Manada, Makassar, Palangkaraya, Ketapang, Pontianak, Merauke, etc.).
To ensure success of the program services, KARINA has been collaborating with government and other humanitarian organizations. KARINA is a member of Caritas Internationalis Confederation. At a national level, KARINA also becomes a member of some forums working on humanitarian issues; such as Humanitarian Forum Indonesia, Disaster Risk Reduction Forum and some clusters.
Legal Status and Structure of KARINA
Legal status of KARINA is as a Foundation. It is registered by the Department of Law and Human Right of the Republic Indonesia. Boards of Foundation consist of 3 governance bodies: Governing Board, Supervisory Boards and Executive Boards. To implement its program services, the Executive Boards point out an Executive Director. Here is the organizational structure of KARINA:
1. Governing Boards:
Head : Msgr. Martinus Dogma Situmorang
Secretary : Msgr. Aloysius Maryadi Sutrisnaatmaka
Members : 1) Msgr. Edmun Woga and 2) Msgr. Hubertus Leteng
2. Supervisory Boards:
Head : Msgr. Petrus Turang
Members : 1) Msgr. Silvester San and 2) Msgr. Lucius Pardame Simanulang
3. Executive Boards:
Head : Mgr. Ayolsius Sudarso
Vice : RP. Adrianus Hariadi Padmaseputra
Secretary : MJL. Sri Murniati
Treasurer : RD. Y. Edy Purwanto
Members : 1) Fr. F. Teguh Santosa, 2) Fr. S. Dany Sanusi, OSC, 3) Fr. J. Emanuel Embu,
SVD, 4) Mrs Christina Meirawati, 5) Devie Kusumaputri
4. Executive Director: Fr. Adrianus Suyadi, SJ
Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS) was founded in 2001 and works to help people living in one of Asia’s poorest countries where over one third of the population live in poverty. Inspired by the Catholic Social Teaching principle of “Option for the Poor”, KMSS is established and mandated by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) as its social arm to serve the poor and the needy.
The specific areas of the Church’s mission give attention to integral human development, realisation of justice and peace, environmental protection, education, HIV/AIDS, humanitarian assistance and emergency relief services.
Caritas Mynamar Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Emergency Response provides emergency relief following natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and cyclones, as well as long-term recovery programmes that rebuilds homes and schools, repairs infrastructure, protects livelihoods and builds the capacity of local organisations.
In 2008, Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady and Yangon Regions of Myanmar, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, leaving more than two million people homeless and causing $10 billion total damage. Caritas Myanmar working in partnership with other Caritas members intervened to provide short and long-term assistance to distribute food, rebuild and repair homes, construct wells to restore safe drinking water, provide grants for small business and livelihood opportunities for non-farm based livelihoods for the landless poor, and counselling and training for villagers to respond to the psycho-social needs of their communities.
Caritas Myanmar has a range of programmes that include agriculture projects such as vegetable gardens and fruit tree plantations, pre-school teacher training and management training for school-committee members, capacity building for young people to build skills in organising and managing community development projects and health education sessions to distribute mosquito nets, toilet bowls and safe drinking water.
Caritas Myanmar programmes address the pressing concern of the 240,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Myanmar, the second largest population of sufferers in South East Asia. Its prevention and education programmes help people living with HIV to be integrated into the workplace.
KMSS National Office (KMSS-National Office) is located in Yangon and has 16 Caritas diocesan offices.
Caritas Myanmar is affiliated with Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia and receives support from Caritas Italy, Caritas Switzerland and Caritas Australia, which support 11 programmes that focus on disaster risk reduction, emergency assistance, HIV/AIDS, and water and sanitation.
Caritas Philippines is locally known as the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA). It was created by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1966 and mandated to accompany the poor and marginalized in the just and legitimate struggle for social justice and transformation.
Work carried out by Caritas Philippines/NASSA includes:
Sustainable agriculture and rural development: Contributes to the alleviation of poverty by supporting low-cost input production technology to increase family incomes and food security. It upgrades, broadens and preserves the genetic resource base of agricultural production through biodiversity conservation A flagship programme is a campaign for agrarian reform.
Ecological protection and promotion of the integrity of creation: Secures and preserves the sustainability of creation through the building of a critical mass of ecology activists who can prevent ecologically-aggressive policies and engage in community-based ecology projects.
Political education for democratic governance: Promotes good governance through popular education set on the premise of political maturity and reforms. The programme provides training and forums to communities to encourage them to participate in government affairs.
Protection and promotion of women’s and children’s rights to development: Promotes gender sensitive adherence to social equity in development interventions and against the marginalization of women and children.
Relief and Rehabilitation: Provides assistance to victims of natural and man-made calamities in the form of rapid emergency response and rehabilitation programmes. Disaster management and preparedness training is provided to communities, particularly to the most vulnerable population of the country, in order to boost their readiness and resilience.
HIV/AIDS: Spearheads the Philippine church’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic by including HIV/AIDS in development programmes or through HIV-specific activities that engage different sectors of society.
Advocacy and campaign: Consolidates the social action network’s campaigns and advocacy and raises them to national and international levels.
Caritas Philippines/NASSA serves as the Secretariat for the Social Action Network composed of the Diocesan Social Action Centres (DSAC) organised in 85 dioceses in the country.
NASSA Caritas Philippines is a member of Caritas Internationalis. In implementing development programmes, Caritas Philippines is supported by Development and Peace (Caritas Canada), Caritas Spain, Caritas Korea, Entraide et Fraternite, UNDP, Misereor and Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund.
The agency is also supported is by The Italian Bishops Conference, CHARIS of Singapore and other local and institutional partners.
Caritas Singapore was set up in November 2006 as the social and charitable arm of the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore. It provides coordination, direction and leadership to 23 Catholic social mission groups carrying out work for the poor and the community.
The Catholic social mission groups under its umbrella serve a wide array of constituencies of need that includes the poor and destitute families, youth and children, prisoners, persons with HIV/AIDS and terminal illnesses, people with physical and mental challenges, migrant workers, overseas needy as well as those with legal and medical needs.
Caritas Singapore provides core programmes to further its social mission work. It mobilises funds, resources and other support from the Catholic community to fulfil the Church’s charitable tasks. It runs formation programmes to communicate and educate the broader Catholic community on the Church’s Social teachings. Caritas Singapore also works with its Catholic social mission groups to help the broader community become more aware of the causes and plights faced by the poor and marginalised in the community in its advocacy efforts.
As a member of Caritas Singapore, Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS) was established in August 2010 as the umbrella body for overseas humanitarian aid by the Archdiocese of Singapore. Humanitarian situations cover natural disasters and other adverse circumstances faced by the poor and needy, especially in developing countries in the region.
Aid provided by CHARIS includes funding, medical aid and volunteers for immediate relief as well as the long-term support of those displaced and in need.
Formerly known as the Catholic Commission for Human Development, Caritas Thailand was founded in 1972 to carry out the Church’s holistic human development work.
At home or abroad, Caritas Thailand is able to deploy immediate and effective humanitarian relief to people in need. It has recently worked in close partnership with the global Caritas network to provide humanitarian aid to thousands of Syrian refugees, providing food and medical care.
Caritas Thailand’s programmers include providing care and support to the elderly and the disabled, developing sustainable agriculture projects and exploring methods to prevent child trafficking and exploitation.
In addition, Caritas Thailand in conjunction with Caritas Spain has established 2 learning centres and an orphanage in Mae Sot, Tak Province to support vulnerable Burmese migrants in Thailand.
The Caritas Thailand Secretariat in Bangkok serves as the hub for the 10 Caritas Diocesan organisations spread throughout the country. Nationally, the agency employs approximately 500 staff and 500 volunteers.
As a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia, Caritas Thailand often collaborates and receives support from the global Caritas network – such as Caritas Spain.
Caritas Vietnam was founded in South Vietnam in 1965 but in 1976 it was ordered to cease operations and hand over all possessions to the government. The moratorium lasted for 22 years until the agency was re-established in June 2008. Today, Caritas Vietnam focuses on capacity building at the national level and for the 26 diocesan Caritas.
Caritas Vietnam programmes aim to promote integral human development and to deliver emergency assistance. It organises workshops on HIV/AIDS to prevent the spread of the epidemic. The workshops include training and counseling. Caritas Vietnam’s social service activities include campaigns to help dioceses boost education and life skills for young people, water projects to improve the health of leprosy patients and support to people living with disabilities. It runs a scholarship programme for poor students.
Caritas Vietnam main office in Ho Chi Minh City employs 14 staff and consists of 4 departments – education and training, communication, life services and finance. The agency guides and coordinates the work of the 26 Caritas diocesan offices.
Caritas Vietnam is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia and works in partnership with Caritas Germany, Caritas France, Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Japan, Caritas Singapore, Caritas Slovakia and Caritas Norway.
Caritas Hong Kong (CHK) was founded in 1953 by the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong to offer relief and rehabilitation services to the poor and the distressed. It has continuously developed and modified its work in response to the changing needs of Hong Kong.
Caritas Hong Kong operates 6 clinics and 2 private hospitals, providing quality healthcare at reasonable prices. It supports young girls who are pregnant, families in crisis and in debt, addicted gamblers, survivors of sexual abuse and children with learning difficulties.
Caritas Hong Kong’s educational services are committed to serving the disadvantaged and vulnerable through caring and quality education. The agency also is in the process of setting up a Catholic University in Hong Kong.
Caritas Hong Kong Mainland Services provide humanitarian assistance to poor villages delivers emergency aid for victims of natural disasters and redevelops large community centres.
Caritas Japan work first began in 1946, right after the end of the war in the Pacific, receiving and distributing relief goods from LARA (Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia) and CARE (Cooperation for American Relief for Everywhere). The agency was established as Caritas Japan in 1970 as the working body of the Committee of Bishops on Social Issues with an aim to promote collaboration among Catholic social welfare groups in Japan as well as to work in close cooperation with Caritas Internationalis. Over the years, Caritas Japan has rendered humanitarian assistance and emergency relief to a wide variety of crisis, such as support for refugees from Indochina (Vietnam) in 1975 and aid for a Rwandan refugee camp in 1994.
Caritas Japan showed solidarity with the victims following the unprecedented Great Japan earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. It provided immediate large scale relief supplies such as food, clean water, blankets, temporary shelter, medicine and hygiene packets to over 15,000 people in the disaster zone.
Once the debris was cleared, long-term rehabilitation efforts commenced to provide livelihood restoration for fishers and farmers, psycho-social care, reconstruction of a shopping and day care centre, and the deployment of 10,000 volunteers to provide social service activities at children centres and institutions for the disabled and elderly.
Caritas Japan programmes includes social awareness campaigns to address the issue of suicide and an annual Lenten campaign to raise funds for their programmes.
Caritas Japan General Secretariat in Tokyo employs 6 staff that works closely with the 16 Caritas diocesan offices, 60 staff and thousands of volunteers to guide and coordinate activities..
Caritas Japan actively collaborates with the world wide Caritas network in over 20 human development projects worldwide.
Caritas Korea was founded in 1975 as the Human Development Committee, becoming a full-fledged member of Caritas Internationalis in 1979. Its development programme aims to empower people trapped in poverty and to enhance their capability to look after themselves.
Caritas Korea overseas programmes include education projects to support primary education in Nepal, Afghanistan and Burundi and projects to achieve sustainable agricultural and water development in Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal.
In addition, Caritas Korea provides access to healthcare for families in Iraq, offers dental services for Palestine children, supports people with disabilities and has anti-trafficking programmes for women and children in Asian countries.
Since 1993, Caritas Korea has been responding to emergency and disaster situations at home and abroad providing relief supplies rapidly, effectively and professionally. It provided aid following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and continues to be the facilitating partner providing aid to the people of North Korea on behalf of Caritas member organisations.
Caritas Korea’s main office in Seoul employs 10 staff; there are 100 others in the 15 Caritas diocesan offices.
Caritas Korea works in close partnership with all the Caritas member agencies, such as Caritas Japan, Caritas Germany and Catholic Relief Services USA. In addition, the agency actively collaborates with Caritas partners in Asia such as Caritas Bangladesh, Caritas Sri Lanka, Caritas Thailand, Caritas Cambodia and Caritas Myanmar.
Caritas Macau work began in the early 1950s as ‘Casa Ricci Social Services’ when it assisted refugees from mainland China with food, shelter, jobs, education and integration into society. It became Caritas Macau in 1971 when it was incorporated into the Catholic Diocese of Macau as its social service arm. Today, Caritas Macau services continue to grow to respond to the increasing difficulties caused by inflation and lack of social services.
Caritas Macau has 34 small and medium-sized centres spread throughout Macau to support over 1,000 people every year. The services provide 24 hour a day support for the elderly and those who are bedridden and frail, residential services to those with mental and physical disabilities, economic and psychological support for single parents and people who left prison.
Caritas Macau is the only agency in the Macau with services that provide housing for homeless people.
Caritas Macau also runs a food bank to distribute food to 2,200 elderly and low-income families who frequently use the service, roughly 1 percent of all families in Macau.
Caritas Macau main office in Macau has a staff of 600 employees and volunteers to take care of the agency’s social service centres.
Caritas Macau is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia.
Caritas Taiwan – the Commission for Social Development – was founded in 1969 and is mandated by the Chinese Regional Bishops Conference to help people at the national level and abroad. Taiwan has a dynamic economy, from low-technology goods to higher–value manufacturing and exports, mainly in electronics and computers. Caritas Taiwan works with people living in challenging conditions, who do not feel the benefit of this prosperity.
Caritas Taiwan emergency relief and rehabilitation services provides help to those living in areas that are hit by natural calamities. The agency collaborates with local parishes in China to provide supplies in the form of food, clothing and medicine to victims of the massive earthquake in China and provided rehabilitation services to the areas affected by Typhoon Morakot in 2009.
Caritas Taiwan provides assistance to the local people in the different rural areas in China to help them develop their poor communities. The projects include construction of roads, school buildings and libraries, water system for irrigation and organising public health education seminars. Summer camps are also organised for children living with HIV/AIDS and for those children whose parents migrated in bigger cities to find better sources of living.
Caritas Taiwan special concern for the youth provides services to reach the poorest children to bring them the opportunity of education by subsidizing the tuition fees of more than 1,000 school children whose families can barely afford to pay. The subsidy also includes the salaries of school teachers to meet the needs of the schools and to educate the children.
Caritas Twain also renders services to the Overseas Contract Workers and other nationals in Taiwan through its migrant desk. The programme for the migrants are as follows: information and education in different areas of Taipei diocese, empowerment, repatriation assistance, case management counseling, visits to the detention centre, referrals, lobbying and advocacy for the cause of the migrant workers especially for the revision of the Household Service Act for the caregivers/domestic workers.
Caritas Twain main office in Taipei City employs 11 staff to carry out their social services and activities.
Caritas Taiwan works in partnership with the world-wide network of Caritas Internationalis, such as Caritas Mongolia, Caritas Korea, and a project involving Caritas Hong Kong and Caritas Macau to organise spiritual exercises for those working in social services.
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Caritas Mongolia began its work helping marginalised people and providing emergency relief in 2001 after an Indian priest, Fr. Yvon Ambroise, visited social services projects following a dzuud, or severe long winter. In 1999-2000 this had directly affected 450 000 herders and killed about 3 million animals. Many herders, after they lost their livestock, moved to urban areas where they struggled to find work and shelter.
Collaboration with other Caritas organisations has been vital to the work of Caritas Mongolia. It has allowed it to expand its programmes to include education, social and humanitarian assistance, migration and the rebuilding of livelihoods. Reducing the impact of natural disasters has also been a priority.
In 2012, working side by side with Caritas Czech Republic, Caritas Mongolia began working on improving conditions in detention centres. It collaborated with Caritas Belgium to integrate immigrants by providing training, health care and income generating activities. With funds from Caritas Poland, 3 dormitories and 15 wells for herders scattered over the steppes were repaired.
Caritas Mongolia also addresses the prevalence of family violence in the country, especially against women. Community-building projects empower them to change society at a family level. A mobile medical unit has been set up to provide people living in remote areas with basic health care. Caritas Mongolia also supports several vocational schools in reforming their curriculums and in pre-school education and is mapping the distribution of water in the north Mongolian town of Mörön.
Caritas Mongolia’s main office is located in Ulannabaatar and has 10 staff and 30 volunteers.
Caritas Tajikistan is the national Catholic Church’s fledgling social-service agency that focuses its efforts on children in need, families, and the sick in this former Soviet republic. With a Catholic community numbering about 2,000, most of the aid to support the Church’s charitable efforts is procured from abroad.
“Our aim is to make a modest contribution to the social and moral rebuilding of this splendid country,” said Father Juan Carlos Sack, director of Caritas Tajikstan.
In conjunction with other Caritas organisations, Caritas Tajikistan provides humanitarian relief to the poor and marginalized following emergency crises. When catastrophic floods and mudslides struck in 2010, destroying communication lines, bridges and over 2,000 homes leaving hundreds homeless, Caritas Tajikistan and Caritas agencies intervened to provide families food, cookware and fuel for stoves, blankets and pillows, mattresses and hygiene items.
In addition, Caritas Tajikistan co-operated with Care International and Catholic Relief Services USA to provide winter assistance to the elderly, disabled and single mothers to survive the harsh, long Tajikistan winters. The provisions included clothing, sacks of flour, grains, pasta and cooking oil, along with thermos, hot-water bottles and candles.
Complementing Caritas Tajikistan emergency aid are long-term sustainable developmental programmes that provide sanitation facilitates and water access to urban poor communities in Dushanbe, community education workshops and adult skills training in remote rural areas.
Caritas Tajikistan medical assistance programmes help children afflicted with illness, such as cancer and congenital abnormality and play a vital role providing medical equipment to children’s hospitals. Moreover, Caritas Italy and various government offices provided funding to open a medical dispensary to serve 30,000 people in a poor district.
Caritas Tajikistan national office is located in Dushanbe and has a staff of 9 employees and 1 volunteer.
Caritas Tajikistan is affiliated with Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia and receives support from the global Caritas network; such as Catholic Relief Services USA, Caritas Italy and Caritas Switzerland. Caritas Switzerland assistance facilitates acquisition of new project funding to develop and implement regional strategies and projects.
Caritas Uzbekistan began operations in 2002 but because of the government’s strict regulation of religious groups, it was forced to act discreetly through small-scale efforts in local parishes. Caritas Uzbekistan’s aim is to help people in a country where a fifth of the population lives on less than US$1 per day and 70 percent of people live in terrible rural poverty.
Caritas Uzbekistan works to improve access to affordable medicine for the elderly and children. It also operates a soup kitchen to provide weekly meals to the poor, sick and underprivileged and after-school programmes for children to help develop their social and sporting skills.
Caritas Uzbekistan has a main office in Tashkent and others in five parishes: Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench and Fergana.
Caritas Uzbekistan is affiliated with Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Asia and receives support from the worldwide network of Catholic humanitarian agencies.