Run over the six weeks of Lent, Caritas Australia’s major annual fundraiser has, over the years, helped thousands of vulnerable communities around the world to build better lives for themselves.
In 2014, Australians once again opened their hearts with almost $11 million being raised for the poorest of the poor.
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle donated close to $225,000 - a fantastic and generous contribution from our region.
The fundraiser brings individuals, Catholic parishes and Catholic schools together, and reflects the goals that underpin Caritas Australia’s work: to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity.
The money raised through this year’s appeal will fund long-term development programs in over 30 countries across Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. Funds will also support programs for First Australian communities.
Caritas Australia’s Head of Community Engagement, Helen Forde, thanked the Australian public for its continuous support.
“This amazing achievement will allow us to bring a brighter tomorrow to the world’s poor, and for that they –and we – are very grateful,” Ms Forde said.
“Following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, for which Australians donated over $6.2 million to Caritas Australia, we are humbled to see such generosity and continuing support for others in desperate need.
“With this support, Caritas Australia’s partners will continue to work with communities around the world. With local assistance, we’ll be able to provide nutritious food, adequate health care and other support so that the most vulnerable can lead fulfilling lives.”
One person who has benefited from such generosity is eighteen-year old Maristely, a resident of a favela (slum) in Sao Paulo, one of Brazil’s host cities in the 2014 World Cup. Through the work of Caritas Australia’s partner, the Movement for the Defence of Favela Residents (MDF), Maristely, her family and community now enjoy regular access to clean water and electricity. With their ‘certificates of ownership’, they also have secure homes, while the community’s youth participate in MDF-run sessions that discuss how young people can attain education and employment. Such help has been deeply appreciated.
“I would like to thank Australians most sincerely for their kindness and generosity. Their contribution is very important not only in money terms but also their belief in all the young people of the favelas. It is vital to support the work of Caritas in creating a just society that is inclusive of all,” Maristely said.
Ms Forde echoes Maristely’s appreciation.
“The money raised really has made a difference to Maristely and others like her around the world. Without it, we simply wouldn’t be able to reach so many people with our life-changing work.”
For more information, visit www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion or phone 1800 024 413.