Ana Guirao, Caritas Spain (see below for Spanish) We just had the final press conference in preparation for World Youth Day. They offered us load of figures about the participation, registration, volunteers, costs and the like. Almost half a million people have already registered. We’re really on the home straight. The stage in Plaza de Cibeles – the place where the Pope will be welcomed - is almost up, so are all the structures to hold TV cameras and satellite equipment. Pilgrims have started to arrive and you can see all the volunteers on the streets wearing their green tabards. Madrid has been turned into one big stage in preparation for this festival of faith. This is the right time to celebrate hope. It’s a moment when many tired and disheartened young people will see firsthand that it’s possible to have hope, that love is in each person’s heart and is just waiting [...]
By Ana Guirao, Caritas Spain Available also in Spanish Almost half a million young people from around the world will gather in Madrid with Pope Benedict to celebrate World Youth Day from 16-21 August. It is a real opportunity for young people to answer their call and to strengthen their commitment to their faith. The Pope will celebrate Mass and participate in the Via Crucis while there as well hear young people from different countries confess . The culmination of WYD will be a concluding Mass on Sunday 21 August which will be celebrated by the Pope and at which hundreds of thousands of people are expected. WYD wouldn’t be complete without a fundamental aspect of Christian life: charity. How can you love Christ and not love your neighbour? How can you take part in adoration of the Eucharist and non in the suffering of your brother or sister? This […]
By Olga Zhyvytsya, Caritas Internationalis project advisor Financial inclusion promotes social inclusion of migrants in the country of destination – this was the idea that brought together the Italian Banking Association and civil society organisations at the meeting “Migrants and financial inclusion” held in Rome, 14 June 2011. Italy, once a country of origin for migrants, today faces significant immigration flows. According to Caritas Italy data from 2010, 5 million migrants live in Italy and they constitute 7 percent of the population; foreign employees constitute 10 percent of the work force and 3.4 percent of enterprises belong to foreigners. Migrants contribute 11 percent to the GDP and pay near 11 mld euro in social security contributions. Moreover, near 1 million children of migrants were born or brought up in the country. As a result, Italy faces the growing necessity to consider migrants more as citizens rather than simply as guests, with [...]
Caritas believes it is scandalous that eighty million people live below the poverty line in Europe, a quarter of them children. So, while the MDGs are stepping stones, striving to halve poverty in the developing world, Caritas Europa launched the “Zero Poverty” campaign to end poverty full stop as a starting point for all humanity. I t is an urgent demand. Across Europe, Caritas members said more people were asking for their services. On St Valentine’s Day, Pope Benedict XVI visited Caritas Rome’s Don Luigi di Liegro shelter, describing it as “something concrete that allows the light of God to enter the lives of the whole community.” Don Luigi was the founder of both Caritas Rome and the shelter, and he believed that handing out food and clothes wasn’t enough: society must look into itself to see where it had failed people. This philosophy is very much in line with the [...]
Children are the focus of one of Caritas Internationalis’ major campaigns: HAART for Children. HAART stands for Highly Active Anti- Retroviral Therapy. Caritas Internationalis presses governments and pharmaceutical companies to develop “child-friendly” forms of medicines and testing. Caritas Australia directly asked the pharmaceutical giant Roche to do its part in facilitating access to medication to fight HIV and the tuberculosis that so often accompanies it. Caritas turned children themselves into advocates for other children with email postcards to spread the message that better paediatric drugs are urgently needed. Members of Caritas Austria’s Young Caritas group also became child advocates by presenting over 20,000 signatures they had collected to their government at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July. Seventeen-year-old Lena Neururer said, “First I used a smile to get people to sign, then second I used the facts and figures.” The signatures demanded that the Austrian government continue to fund [...]
Caritas Italy today begins celebrations to mark 40 years of offering support and services to the poor. Founded by Pope Paul VI in July 1971, Caritas Italy (known locally as Caritas Italiana) brings together 220 diocesan Caritas to offer charitable acts both home and abroad. “Caritas Italiana has been unfailing in its dedication to the poor and disadvantaged both in Italy and also in neglected parts of the world for 40 years. We wish it many more years of service and congratulate it on being a living example of solidarity,” said Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. A press conference will be held Friday 1 July at Caritas Italy’s Rome headquarters entitled “Exploring memory, loyalty and prophecy”. It will be followed by a round table, “Forty years of Caritas Italiana and the image of the Church”. In 2010 Caritas Italy spent over 44 million euro on activities domestically and worldwide. It contributed [...]
This blog entry is based on a series of articles started by Caritas Europa about the Caritas response to the recent events in Northern Africa. In this series, Caritas Italy and reporter Emilio Fabio Tosello regularly share their reports from different places where Caritas is acting to help those affected. Caritas is present on the Italian island of Lampedusa were most of the people leaving Tunisia are arriving. In a few days the situation in Lampedusa has gone from bad to worse. The number of migrants on the island has reached over 20,000, largely outnumbering the 5,000 inhabitants of the island. So far, around 2,000 migrants have been transferred to a camp on the mainland in Italy. The situation is dire with serious consequences for the migrants’ health and hygiene. Thousands of people camp outside at night and only get rationed food and water. Oliviero Forti, Director of Migration at Caritas Italy, [...]
by Monika Vrsanska, CAFOD programme officer for the Pakistan Emergency On the road to the village of Parto Malik, we finally see the water. A lot of water, considering the flood was supposed to have ended a couple of months ago. The road is very dusty and we cough a lot, but the surrounding fields are still covered with water.
By Elli Xenou, Caritas Coordinator Pakistan I was at home in Athens on summer vacations when the phone rang. Cordaid’s project manager (Cordaid is Caritas Netherlands) sounded worried: “It’s raining two days now non-stop” he said, “something big is going to happen”. Then the first images of floods and destruction made it to the TV News. KPK Province of Pakistan, the area that was plagued by the IDP crisis last year, the area where most of NGOs were working still trying to alleviate the suffering of IDPs and conflict- affected populations, perhaps the most challenging area of Pakistan on the back of the tribal belt, heavily struck by militancy and talibanization was on the verge of a new disaster.
By CAFOD Caritas England and Wales (CAFOD) is working in partnership with University College London, one of the UK’s top universities to be able to better respond to climate change. They’re trying to see the threats climate change poses in the context of other hazards. Melanie Duncan is leading the research at the university. Since commencing her work in April 2009, Melanie has carried out an analysis of the current tools developed or adopted by many of the London-based international NGOs for aiding climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. She has so far highlighted that these tools require greater integration of scientific methods, models, knowledge and data. Her work shows the interaction between hazards is largely missed, as currently most tools recognise multiple hazards, but only assess them individually at a point in time. She travelled to the Philippines in September 2010 as part of the programme to carry out field work. [...]
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 [...]