January 19, 2011

Soaring food costs hitting poor from Algeria to India

By |19 January 2011|

Millions of people around the world are struggling to cope with rising food prices say Caritas staff. “The price rises in India usually affect the poorest people, but they are now so steep that the middle class is hit hard as well,” said Sunil Simon, in charge of natural resource management at Caritas India. The FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) food price index has surpassed the level it reached during the major food riots of 2008. After a year of steady increases, the index reached 214,7 points in December, compared to 206 points in November. What worries Caritas experts is that the index exceeded the level it had attained in 2008, a year of severe food crises and food riots in many developing countries. As one out of six people in the world already suffer from hunger, rising food prices make it even more difficult for poor people to buy [...]

November 30, 2010

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    The “A million stars” initiative in Switzerland – a sea of candles for solidarity

The “A million stars” initiative in Switzerland – a sea of candles for solidarity

By |30 November 2010|

On 18 December, squares, bridges and buildings in 200 towns and villages will be illuminated by thousands of candles. The event, called "A million stars", is organised by Caritas Switzerland as a sign of social cohesion and solidarity with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

October 28, 2010

Zero Poverty in Europe Campaign

By |28 October 2010|

Caritas is calling for an end to poverty in Europe with the launch of its Zero Poverty Campaign. “Poverty is a scandal. What else can it be when just over 40 years after man first walked on the moon, there are still humans unable to provide for their most basic needs, like food, shelter, warmth,” said Caritas Europa President Fr Erny Gillen. Zero Poverty campaign coincides with the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion at the European Parliament in Brussels. Caritas has launched a new paper “Poverty Among Us” that outlines steps to a poverty free Europe. The paper calls for the strengthening of the labour market, the welfare state, and the family. “If the fight against poverty and social exclusion is to be sustained, more emphasis must be placed on what policies can do to prevent the spiral of poverty from taking place, particularly in the early stages of [...]

World Food Day: One in six people go hungry

By |14 October 2010|

“We urgently need to concentrate on rehabilitation and prevention to stop more crises in the next years”, said Raymond Younoussi Yoro, Secretary General of Caritas Niger. Niger was hit by a major food crisis this year that affected around 60% of the population. It’s one of the many countries around the world where starvation is endemic. One in six people will go hungry on World Food Day 16 October and on every other day too. Caritas says urgent action is needed for the 925 million people still suffering from hunger. The first Millennium Development Goal is to cut by half the number of hungry people by 2015. The international community has committed to achieving these goals, but it seems less likely that they will be met. The MDG on poverty, if it is achieved, can only be a first target. Caritas has a vision of zero poverty. No one should be denied the right to food [...]

August 16, 2010

Stamping out corruption

By |16 August 2010|

Caritas is joining other faith-based aid agencies and religious leaders in calling for action on stamping out global corruption. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, over 50 faith leaders and agency directors say corruption is a major cause of poverty in developing countries and a major barrier to overcoming it. They say both rich and poor countries have a responsibility to overcome it. Read the full text:  In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly signed the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). It was the first global treaty ever that provides a framework to harmonise anti-corruption efforts worldwide. This week the UNCAC Working Group on a Review Mechanism meet in Vienna, Austria to look at progress so far ahead of a summit in Doha in November. Over 50 religious leaders and heads of faith-based organisations including Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight called on delegates working on the review to turn UNCAC from [...]

Empowering the poor in Europe

By |16 August 2010|

European Caritas members set up various projects to help the poor. Some provided specific rehabilitation initiatives for particular sectors of the population such as street children, the mentally ill or homeless women. Others offered advice, a meeting place or a hot meal to anybody in need. Caritas not only provided food, shelter and basic necessities to the most vulnerable. It also sought to empower people, value their skills and encourage them to take control of their lives. The common focus is dignity, putting people at the centre. Homeless people at Caritas in Stuttgart, Germany, transformed bottles into art, expressing their hidden talents and challenging the prejudices of mainstream society. In Voralberg, Austria, Caritas gives teenagers who dropped out of the regular school system a second chance. Supported by professional instructors, the teenagers produce wood products and renovate furniture until they can be guided towards vocational training or employment elsewhere.

June 23, 2010

Food for thought in Zimbabwe

By |23 June 2010|

The acute humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe continued in 2009, with half of the population reliant on food aid to survive.

Economic crisis hits poorest

By |23 June 2010|

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to halve poverty by 2015, is under threat because of the global crisis. Through its advocacy work, Caritas Internationalis sought to keep poverty on the agenda of world leaders. Caritas Internationalis delegation at the UN in NewYork coordinates the MDG Convening Group, building links between NGOs, faith-based groups, and experts. Caritas works closely with the Millennium Campaign’s Global and European programme. Caritas representatives went to theWorld Economic Forum in Davos and theWorld Social Forum in Belém, Brazil, to G20 and G8 meetings in the UK and Italy, and a UN food summit in Rome to lobby for action. Caritas Zambia’s Milimo Mwiba joined supporters from CAFOD (Caritas England andWales) and other Caritas members in London in April for the G20 Summit of developed and emerging economies. Zambia was hit hard by the global recession. The copper town of Luanshya lost more than 3,000 [...]

1 in 6 go hungry

By |23 June 2010|

World hunger reached an historic high in 2009 with over a billion people going without enough food every day. Malnutrition increased by 13 percent in Asia, 8 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 6 percent in Africa.

Economic justice: Putting people first

By |23 June 2010|

Caritas seeks to challenge unjust systems and promote the common good, addressing the structural causes of poverty. Caritas believes that economic structures should put people before profit; we support fairer trade, further debt cancellation and increased aid,more wisely spent. The fallout from the 2008/2009 global economic crisis pushed more vulnerable communities into extreme poverty. The poor in Asia were badly hit. Caritas Cambodia said that the garment industry, construction, tourism and agriculture had all been affected. As factories closed and unemployment rose, more people were in need of their services, while aid levels dropped. An increasing number of people in Europe and North America faced poverty in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. Thirteen percent of Italy’s 58 million people were considered poor, according to Caritas Italy, with a rising number just above the poverty line. The situation was similar in the rest of Europe. Children, the elderly, unemployed and disabled [...]

February 2, 2010

Hunger the real homework

By |2 February 2010|

Widespread hunger in rural Zimbabwe means that Kembo Ndlovu, head of Lupaka primary school, doesn’t just have to worry about nourishing his pupils’ minds, but also their bodies. Children who don’t get enough food at home, won’t have the energy to go to school and if they do, nagging hunger pangs will make it harder for them to learn. The children will also be more exposed to disease and illness, something that could put them in a vulnerable position for life. “Hunger is counterproductive,” says Ndlovu. “I understand in previous years the pass rate used to be high, but now it has gone down.” Having suffered a devastating economic meltdown in recent years, many of Zimbabwe’s 11 million population are struggling to keep afloat. Nowhere is the scale of this crisis more evident than in rural areas like those around Lupaka, where residents struggle even to feed their families, let alone [...]

January 16, 2010

Caritas at Davos 2010

By |16 January 2010|

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos 27 to 31 January, urging for a reshaping of global institutions and structures to put ethics, values and respect for the human person into international financial systems.

December 2, 2009

Haiti 2009: Back in Class

By |2 December 2009|

Soft spoken and demure, Junor Hesgazons leans intently into his schoolwork, his eyes casting constantly to the chalkboard as the day’s lesson takes shape. His white collared shirt neatly creased despite the humidity of southern Haiti, Hesgazons looks every bit the engineer he hopes one day to be. “I like to study engineering. I like mathematics and physics,” Hesgazons said. “I would like to build roads and bridges as a civil engineer.” But for Hesgazons, that journey thus far has been a hard one. Growing up poor near the city of Les Cayes, Hesgazons has struggled throughout his life to stay in school. For he and his family, as with many across Haiti, the $70 yearly school fees are a major burden. “Before, a family friend helped me [with fees], but he cannot afford to help me anymore,” Hesgazons said. When Hurricane Ike came ashore in September 2008, those difficulties were compounded. Across [...]

August 16, 2009

Aid and climate justice key to G8 in Italy

By |16 August 2009|

Caritas is urging leaders of G8 countries meeting in the Italian town of L’Aquila to return to promises on aid and revitalize climate change negotiations. Caritas says that increased aid flows from G8 countries in the past has led to an improvement in the lives of people living in developing countries. The economic crisis means more people have been driven into poverty and need support of the world’s rich. But the poor are facing betrayal as G8 donors cut aid spending. Climate change negotiations that will see a new deal in Copenhagen in December need fresh impetuous if the world is to get a desperately needed cuts in emissions and extra support for poor countries to adapt to extreme weather. Caritas is being represented in L’Aquila by CAFOD, one of its members in the UK. Joanne Green, Head of Policy and Pascale Palmer, Communications Officer from CAFOD (Caritas England and Wales) can be [...]

Caritas imagines globalisation based on solidarity

By |16 August 2009|

The last months of 2008 saw the global economic system suffer its worst meltdown since the 1930s, one that would push millions into greater poverty. 2008 was also the halfway point to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of anti-poverty targets signed in 2000 by almost every country and aimed at raising millions of people out of poverty in fifteen years. Halfway to 2015, increased aid commitments and historic debt relief have lifted millions out of poverty. But some countries are not headed in the right directions. The number of people going hungry is increasing. Caritas and its supporters called for concrete commitments on reversing cuts in aid from some of the world’s richest countries and improving the way aid is spent. Millions of people don’t want to see billions of people living in poverty. They want to see action from world leaders. Caritas attended a series of high level events to [...]

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