A decade in Darfur: challenges and progress

By |4 February 2013|

By Laura Sheahen

“When we first came here, we were getting water from the valley, seven kilometers away.” Muhammad is a long-time resident of a camp in Darfur for people who fled violence. He remembers what it was like nearly a decade ago, when thousands of desperate people first arrived. “Farmers were settled closer to the valley, so we couldn’t live where the water was. But when we went to get water, they helped us.”

Ten years later, hundreds of thousands of people remain in Darfur’s camps. They’d like to go back to their villages, but until they can, Caritas-funded programmes are making sure they can live in dignity. 2013 marks 10 years of keeping vulnerable Darfuris alive and making their lives better.

Water is one example of the progress that’s been made. Muhammad’s camp is on dry, dusty land—some thorn trees, scrub brush, and baobabs grow there, but not much else. […]

Refugees in Burkina help save ecology

By |31 January 2013|

The refugees are arriving in semi-desert areas of neighbouring countries, where populations already struggle to cope with lack of food and resources. This wave of people puts huge pressure on the local environment driven by the increased demand for firewood and pasture for livestock.

Haiti faces the future

By |19 December 2012|

Bishop Pierre Dumas, president of Caritas Haiti, says education, care for the environment and the protection of people’s socio-economic rights are essential to helping Haiti move forward and flourish following its devastating earthquake.

Lovely to have a new home

By |19 December 2012|

During Haiti’s earthquake more than a million people lost their homes and the demand for emergency shelter was enormous. Cordaid (a Dutch member of the Caritas confederation) made it one of their long-term priorities to provide people with earthquake- and hurricane-proof housing.

World AIDS Day: “Where have we gone, where are we going?

By |1 December 2012|

World leaders gathered at UN headquarters in June 2011 to assess progress in the global AIDS response. They noted that global HIV incidence was declining, access to combination anti-retroviral treatment was expanding, and a global movement had been mobilized to respect and protect the dignity of all affected by HIV.

Harvest time in Burkina Faso

By |5 November 2012|

By Alistair Dutton, Caritas Internationalis Humanitaian Director

After what has been a very trying and anxious time for the people of Burkina Faso this year, it is a great pleasure to be with them at harvest time. The rains have been much better than recent years and the country is buzzing with life; the ponds, lakes and reservoirs are full with copious water lilies in bloom; the land is lush and verdant, the animals are healthy and lively; the crops, those that haven’t been harvested yet at least, are tall and heavy with grain. The roads are full of motorbikes loaded up with crates of vegetables being taken to market, while lorries from Ghana trawl the villages to buy grain and vegetables to take down to the markets of Tamale, Kumasi and Accra.

Thanks to Caritas this year, Jean Baptiste Kinda is preparing to harvest his tomatoes, aubergines and other vegetables, […]

Tide turns in Kreghané, Chad

By |30 October 2012|

In August 2011, when it stopped raining during the days of cultivation of the land, not all grain was sown. The amount of grain that grew during the following weeks was a lot less than during a normal year. Cornfields have also been plagued by the locusts just before harvest time.

The women’s committee of Hadj al-Dérib in Chad

By |30 October 2012|

It is only natural that the women work together in the field in Hadj al-Dérib. All 120 women of the village are members of a committee, which takes care of the cultivation of various crops as well as the granary and the mill. Each committee has a president, a vice-president and a secretary.

New challenges for the people of Lake Chad

By |30 October 2012|

Balama was a village once located on the shores of Lake Chad, in the east of the county. Since the 1960s, the lake has been greatly reduced. A changing climate and uncontrolled use of water for irrigated agricultures combined with population pressure, has led to the receding of the lake to 10 percent of its original surface.

Gaba’s fields: drought relief in Chad

By |30 October 2012|

By Lisa Krebs

For five years, Gaba Goundoukou has been a member of Aura, a partner organisation of Caritas Switzerland in Chad. Gaba is an educated farmer and works in 20 villages in the region Guéra, located in the east of the country. Gaba is responsible for the implementation of various activities of Aura for rural development, in collaboration with the villagers.

This year Gaba is fully engaged with the emergency assistance project of Caritas Switzerland and UNAD (Caritas Chad) that helps people from several regions of Chad who are severely affected by the drought. Help is mainly provided in form of food and new seeds.

From the beginning of the project, Gaba took on an important role: he was responsible for determining which families could benefit from the emergency assistance project. In order to make a fair selection, Gaba visited every household in “his” villages and completed a questionnaire with the […]

Green is the colour of hope in Chad

By |30 October 2012|

West Africa’s Sahel region faced devastating hunger in 2012 after drought left a huge swathe of countries short of food.

Chad was one of the worst affected countries, with poor rainfall last year hurting farmers and animal herders the most. Then locusts and severe flooding added to the misery.

In Chad, Caritas is focusing on the food needs of vulnerable populations through food distribution as well as activities to build agricultural sustainability through the provision of seeds, veterinary inputs and technical support in agricultural production.

With the support of Caritas members around the world, Caritas Switzerland has been working with Caritas Chad and a local partner ACORD to support farmers during the agricultural year, improving yields to avoid a vicious cycle of famine.

Caritas will help over 100,000 people with seeds and activities aimed at improving the resilience of farmers’ livelihoods throughout the year.

Read these stories from by Lisa Krebs on the difference […]

Good day sunshine: Powering up Darfur

By |21 March 2012|

Hazel Williams is the humanitarian coordinator for Darfur of CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales). She recently paid a visit to some of the many camps that house people who have fled fighting in the region. Caritas works with the Act Alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies in a unique ecumenical cooperation, through the operations of Norwegian Church Aid, Sudanaid (a Caritas member) and the Sudan Council of Churches. Solar power is making an extraordinary difference in camps in Darfur, Sudan, by providing much needed water to those living there. As we enter Khamsadigay camp, which houses just under 20,000 people, we weave through narrow alleys between the temporary structures that people have slowly erected over the last eight or nine years. It’s a Friday morning, so the dusty burnt orange sand tracks are illuminated by groups of flowing white galabiyas – the traditional robes that Dafurian men wear for Friday prayers. We […]

Recreating shattered homes and hearts in Japan

By |9 March 2012|

In March 2011, one of the worst earthquakes in recent memory triggered a massive tsunami off the northeast coast of Japan. The tidal wave killed thousands of people and destroyed huge swaths of seaside towns.

Caritas Japan immediately began helping survivors. It mobilized over 2000 volunteers to help clean debris, distribute needed items like heaters, and provide psychosocial care for the traumatized. Learn more about Caritas’ response by exploring the features here.

Message from Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga: Call for prayer one year after Great East Japan Earthquake

After tsunami, Caritas Japan and survivors reach new heights
Thousands of people in Sakuma’s town, Kamaishi, suffered intense trauma while escaping the tsunami. They also lost their homes. In the year since the catastrophe, Caritas Japan has helped them not only with emergency needs like hot water, but also with moral support.

Tsunami Zone: A Day in the Life of a Caritas Japan Volunteer
More than 2500 people […]

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    Tsunami Zone: A Day in the Life of a Caritas Japan Volunteer

Tsunami Zone: A Day in the Life of a Caritas Japan Volunteer

By |9 March 2012|

Interview with Ms. Seiko Ise 

More than 2500 people have volunteered for Caritas Japan programs helping survivors of the March2011 tsunami. Here, a Caritas coordinator describes what the volunteers do–and what motivates them.  

How do people get started volunteering for Caritas Japan? 

People find out about volunteering with Caritas through the internet or from friends. Staff at our centre in Sendai talk to them and then place them in one of the tsunami-hit areas. They usually stay five days to a week. During summer vacation, we had many students. Now it’s autumn, we have more people in their 30s and 40s, and people over 60.

What do the volunteers do? 

We clean up debris, distribute supplies, run soup kitchens, clean salvaged photos, and basically respond to any needs raised by the communities. As their needs change, we do different things. For example, when they lived in evacuation centres like school gyms, we set up […]

Northern Uganda: Rebuilding Lives, Creating Futures

By |23 February 2012|

This film tells the story of a small community of 16 families that were forced to rebuild their lives following an attack by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in 2004. It is a story of hope.

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