By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis
Working for Caritas, you could be having an audience with the Pope one day and be suddenly heading off to a major disaster or war zone the next. A number of staff at the general secretariat in Rome not only have to be aid professionals in the office, but they also have to know what to do if they find themselves on their own far from home and in a complex and quickly changing security situation.
That’s why I found myself face down in a muddy field in the English countryside two weeks ago. I can’t tell you exactly what I was doing, as I’ve been sworn to secrecy. But it was all part of a personal security training course that I went on with my colleagues Alessandra, Martina and John.
Attacks on aid workers have been on the rise over the past ten […]
The landscape is desolate. Not a tree or a bush provides adequate shelter or shade. The wind is howling, children’s faces are streaked with dark lines of tears as the windswept sand hurts their eyes.
Halima is a young women who lives in the refugee camp of Ayorou Niger. She her left her hometown of Tabakota in Mali three month ago with 20 members of her family. “I have a small child you see, so when armed men started shooting, I got scared and left town, actually the whole family did,” she said.
Halima is grateful her family were given millet and vegetable oil. She is particularly happy about the 40kg charcoal bag she stands by. “I will be able to cook for the whole family for about three weeks with this,” she said.
CADEV, Caritas Niger is working in four camps helping 18,000 Malian refugees. They fled there after rebels seized […]
Seldom has a joint programme between aid agencies made such a personal impression on an employee, but the partnership of ACT Alliance and Caritas—Protestants and Catholics helping Darfur–struck a cord with an aid worker in the region. Here, he describes why he likes his nickname.
My real first name is Abakar. But everyone calls me “Actcaritas.” I like it. When I go to the camps for displaced people, they all call me “Actcaritas.” My real name is lost.
I am logistics fleet assistant. I buy diesel in the market and take it to the camps. We use it to run the water systems, so the people have water. We used to need 30 drums of fuel for all the camps. Now that the programme has built solar-powered water stations, we use less fuel.
ACT/Caritas has supported NCA [Norwegian Church Aid] for a long time in Darfur. There were always very strong here. […]
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. […]
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 […]
Interview with Shiferaw Mamo, Social Development Programme Coordinator of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (Caritas Ethiopia).
The drought and food crisis in summer 2011 affected millions in the Horn of Africa. How did Caritas Ethiopia help them?
The situation in 2011 was very critical. Thanks to the Caritas member organisations who supported us, our programmes have saved lives. Supplementary food has been distributed for some malnourished children in some pocket areas through Catholic health institutions and this contributed to save lives of this children.
Also, people didn’t lose their assets. Many people are herders here. In places like the Rift Valley where their oxen died from the drought, we replaced them: we provided sheep, goats and oxen. We gave out almost 9000 chickens and more than 13,000 goats. If we hadn’t done that, they might have sold all their animals to buy food.
People received money through our “cash for work” programmes, building rural […]