By Martin de Jong, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
Lisa Vehikite is the leader of a tapa-making (cloth-making) group that is finding new life through a Caritas programme in Tonga. Lisa’s group is one of 43 micro-enterprises benefiting from small loans provided through Caritas Tonga in partnership with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. The scheme has been made possible by the New Zealand Aid programme and our New Zealand donors.
Lisa’s husband works in Australia picking fruit for seven months each year. She has five children at home in Utulau Village on the main island of Tongatapu. Income she earns through the tapa making group helps pay her children’s school fees. She heard about the scheme at a community meeting where Caritas Tonga’s Amelia Ma’afu spoke. ‘This project makes me feel like I am a real mother … someone else is helping us to do our work at home,’ says Lisa. Her dream […]
A powerful video thank you to Caritas from Martin Leung-Wai, one of 14 young people Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand helped attend the biggest youth climate summit in New Zealand: PowerShift NZ-Pacific 2012 While the Doha climate talks were wrapping up, over 700 young people from throughout the Pacific came to this event in Auckland, to learn, be inspired, have fun and take action. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand sponsored 12 from New Zealand and two from Vanuatu to attend.
By Angela Ford
Caritas emergency response teams in the Pacific are preparing for emergency relief as one of the most powerful cyclones to hit Samoa in 20 years devastates Apia.
Cyclone Evan made landfall on Thursday 13 December, with winds up to 160 km per hour. At least two people have died, and many are missing.
Samoa has declared a state of disaster with widespread structural damage to outlying buildings, homes and critical infrastructure. Locals have been left without power and food shortages are possible.
Caritas Samoa report that flooding in Apia is widespread, powerlines and trees are down and many homes are destroyed. Flooding is the major cause for concern in the short-term, with water levels up to 8ft in areas.
Mr Puletini Tuala Caritas Samoa Director reports, “the most urgent need at this stage is for water and tinned food. We are planning for an initial assessment of damage in coastal areas […]
By Patrick Nicholson
Epeanda means ‘return to life’ in the local language of this part of Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands. It seemed a good word to the staff, volunteers and patients of the Mendi Diocesan HIV and AIDS programme to describe their activities.They liked it so much, they ended up using it as a title for a new centre that opened there in 2005.
The Catholic Church’s work on HIV and AIDS in Mendi stretches back to 1995. Then the work revolved around explaining the virus, how it is transmitted and challenging the stigma attached to those people living with HIV.
Sr Gaudentia Meier, a Sister of Divine Providence from Switzerland who works at the centre, said better testing and treatment has changed everything. “Before treatment became available and testing more widespread, we were only able to help people who were infected become accepted within their community,” she said. “All we […]
“I hope I die before these islands are covered by the sea.” Eighty-year-old John Sailik was born on the Carteret Islands, a ring of six atolls 50 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
Life there as a young boy was like a paradise he says, fishing and swimming all day. But those days are finished. The islands will soon be underwater as rising sea levels will leave them submerged within five years. He and the other 3000 inhabitants must leave if they wish to live.
The low lying islands surrounded by white sand and crystal blue sea could be out of a travel brochure for a luxury break. There are no shops, cars or phones. There are a couple of houses with generators, but most people have no electricity.
Seline Netoi lives on one of the smaller atolls, called Huene. She says their island paradise is disappearing under the sea. […]
by Martin de Jong, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Against a backdrop of severe drought across the central Pacific, Caritas Oceania representatives from eight different nations gathered in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand earlier this month for their annual forum. About 25 people attended the week-long event, including representatives from Caritas Internationalis, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) – Asia. Many of the states represented, such as Tonga and Kiribati, are among the most vulnerable to climate change due to their low-lying nature or vulnerable shorelines. A closing statement from the forum said its members stand ‘in solidarity with the poor and marginalized of the region. We are particularly concerned by the impact of climate change in our area.’
The Caritas team has touched down in Madrid, Spain, to take part in World Youth Day celebrations.
We´ve arrived to hot and sunny Madrid after a long journey from Sydney. We were ecstatic to be out of the Aussie winter, but we were in for a shock with temperatures of 38 degrees!
This morning we attended the Australian gathering at Palacio de Desportes with 4000 fellow Aussie pilgrims. The energy was high-spirited as people were singing and dancing outside the auditorium.
Once inside, it was great to be part of this massive Australian community. It was amazing to see everyone bond over Aussie pride, and also connect though our celebration of faith.
The first speaker, Cheryl Fernandes reminisced about Sydney WYD 2008 and her recent pilgrimage from Israel. For us, her powerful speech inspired us to take our experiences here in Madrid and continue to act justly, love tenderly and walk […]
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake, depth 5km, occurred 10 km south-east of Christchurch last night in New Zealand.
Current reports are that large parts of the city have been damaged and there are a number of casualties. A state of emergency has been declared in the city.
Caritas New Zealand said this morning, “We are attempting to obtain as accurate a picture as possible in terms of damage to property and lives, which we believe is considerably more than as a result of the last quake in Sep 2010.”
Caritas New Zealand does not usually respond to domestic emergencies, but works alongside Catholic Social Services and St. Vincent de Paul to channel funding for their work of trauma counselling and relief supplies respectively. Caritas is as yet unable to say what response will be. Meanwhile Caritas requests your prayers and solidarity for the victims of this event.
Torrential rain along Australia’s east coast has caused widespread flooding in southern and central areas of Queensland affecting more than 200,000 people.
Vast areas of Southern and Central Queensland were affected by the flood. An area the size of Germany and France combined.
The capital city of the state of Queensland, Brisbane, is now directly under threat of flooding as the Brisbane River has broken its banks amid dire predictions of the biggest floods to hit Queensland’s capital since 1974.
More rain is forecast with the river expected to reach major flood levels, and predictions of this crisis spreading into New South Wales.
The Catholic response within the Diocese of Rockhampton has been significant.
Most services, through Catholic providers of aged and community health, have kept operating thanks to good preparation, informed by previous flooding experience.
Each Catholic facility has sufficient food and linen to last up to two weeks, at which point waters are […]
Caritas staff have sent their condolences to the family and colleagues of Bishop Michael Bunlen Mansap, who died in Bangkok 2 December.
Bishop Mansap served as Vice President of Caritas Internationalis for the Asia and Oceania Regions from 1979 to 1984. He had previously served as Regional Coordinator for Caritas in Asia and Oceania from 1974 to 1976. He was the founder of the Catholic Council of Thailand for Development (CCTD), a member of the Caritas confederation until Caritas Thailand replaced it recently.
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight conveyed their prayers to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand. In a message to the bishops, they commended Bishop Mansap’s faithful service and prophetic proclamation of God’s Word: “He is remembered for his commitment to the Church’s social teachings, social development, justice and peace as well as empowerment of the poor for their total human development.”
By Tim Walsh, Caritas Oceania
A workshop organized by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) was held during the first week of June in Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands. The aim was to improve the coordination of both the emergency and the gradual response to weather events as part of an ongoing effort to manage the effects of climate change.
The majority of workshop participants were islanders from Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia, Mauke and Mitiaro, and included representatives from Caritas Oceania, New Zealand Aid, Red Cross Fiji, the Commission for Justice, Peace and Development, and government officials. There was also a presence from UN agencies and the national office for disaster management (Emergency Management Cook Islands).
Participants from the Cook Islands agreed from the onset that, while it is important to present their evolving predicament to the wider international community, the process needs to be implemented […]