Now there’s a ceasefire in Gaza, assisting communities in the Strip is of the highest priority. The week-long war between Gaza and Israel has left many people in desperate need of medical items, drinking water and blankets, among other things. Caritas Jerusalem’s health team - two coordinators, medical staff and two psychiatrists – are making an assessment of the emergency needs of Gazans. Caritas Jerusalem’s work will be mainly through its mobile clinic, the medical centre and also through the 180 community agents who they trained to help with the local population’s health needs. Post-war Gaza: What have we learned? Visit Caritas Jerusalem's website | Press Release (19 November 2012) Listen to an interview with Vatican Radio in French of Bishop William Shomali, auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem.
Civil society leaders at global meeting point to co-responsibility with governments for solutions in labour migration, rights and development PORT LOUIS, Mauritius 22 November 2012- More than 800 representatives from civil society and governments from some 160 countries gathered in Mauritius this week to discuss changes needed in labour migration, protection of migrants, promotion of their rights and development.
By Dana Shahin, Caritas Jordan Fatima is a widow who recently fled the conflict in Syria to seek refuge in Jordan. She came to the Caritas Jordan centre in Mafraq where she would be able to receive essential help. Once she’d registered with a Caritas staff member, she headed over to the volunteer’s desk to receive her aid items such as blankets, quilts and personal hygiene products. There were large boxes consisting of different coloured quilts. The volunteers usually picks one or two, depending on the family size, and hand them over to the refugees. Fatima, after taking her package, approached one of the volunteers. With a shy quiet voice, she asked, “Is it ok if I choose another quilt? I don’t like this colour.” The Caritas team told her to pick another one. With a thrilled expression on her face , she ran happily to the box and took few minutes to pick [...]
While international efforts are made to bring about a ceasefire in Syria, refugees continue to flood over the border into neighbouring countries. Up to 360,000 have fled Syria as a result of the ongoing conflict there. They may have lost family members in the violence or been separated from them. They leave behind their homes and sometimes all their possessions. Caritas in Lebanon and Jordan welcome the refugees with shelter, food, basic necessities and moral support. However, as winter approaches and they face life in tents and temporary shelters, the hardships faced by the refugees are growing daily. Press release: Caritas struggling to meet Syria crisis Syrian crisis: Tough times ahead for refugees | Watch video 100,000 Syrians in Lebanon face hardship as winter looms Caritas Jordan helping Syrian refugees Caritas blog: Life after Syria Interview with Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, describing the plight of Syrians people and their needs. Interview given to Aid to the Church in [...]
“I thank Caritas every day for the assistance we received” Three months ago, Sanaa gave birth alone in her house, just a few days after arriving in Lebanon from Syria. She, her husband and their two young children ran away from heavy shelling .They are from Hama and did not know anyone in Lebanon. “We had no money to eat and we got scared for the children,” she said. “We know the situation will not get better soon in Syria”. A few years ago, her husband had an accident. Since then, he cannot move his right hand and has severe memory loss. Sometimes, he does not recognise his own wife. Despite this disability, he found a job as a gardener. But the salary is low and they cannot even afford nappies for their new born. The family was referred to Caritas Lebanon by a former municipality member in the Bekaa. They had never [...]
As the fighting intensifies throughout Syria, thousands of refugees continue to pour over the border. According to the latest figures from UNHCR (the UN refugee agency), there are 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon registered and over double that figure not registered. “I see more people and more despair,” says Hombline Dulière, a social worker for Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center. “At the beginning of the summer most of the refugees I met thought they would be back in Syria in a matter of weeks. Now, for many people, the realisation that the situation will last longer, affects them deeply,” she said. Caritas staff and its volunteers are working around the clock to provide assistance to the refugees. However, as winter approaches, living conditions are getting precarious. Najla Chahda, director of Caritas Migrant Center, says, “Temperatures in the Bekaa Valley at night are around 8 degrees Celsius. In the coming weeks they will drop [...]
Caritas urges governments to fight the exploitation of migrants by offering decent work, social protection and greater opportunities for human development. In a statement for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, Caritas warns that the economic crisis which has led to cuts in public spending, unemployment and the tightening of borders to restrict migrant entry have had a major impact on migrants and their ability to contribute to local development. “Migrants the world over, but most of all women, are vulnerable to abuse,” says Martina Liebsch director of policy at Caritas Internationalis. “Migrants have the same rights as everyone to life, liberty, security, education, medical care and decent work. We urge governments to make protecting migrants a priority.” More specifically, Caritas asks the Global Forum to consider the following issues: Protection and promotion of the contribution of migrant women to human development. Women are often the primary breadwinner in their families and increasingly [...]
Children migrating alone to other countries are vulnerable to abuse. Caritas calls for better protection for them and a stronger focus on their needs. Children migrate alone because their families want to protect them against violence or hunger, or want them to send money back to help the family. According to a 2010 study by Catholic Relief Services (Caritas member in the USA), abuses facing unaccompanied Central American children in Mexico ranged from robbery, extortion, intimidation, verbal abuse, and physical abuse, the last two being the most frequent. The CRS study says children suffered abuse while in transit, when apprehended, while in detention or during the deportation or repatriation process. Caritas members and church bodies in other parts of the world have reported similar situations of abuse. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child will discuss the contents and implications of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the context [...]
Pope Benedict XVI said he had gone to Lebanon and to the Middle East as a “pilgrim of peace”. Over the next three days, he would return to the same theme of peace in the troubled region in every speech he delivered. President of Caritas Lebanon Father Simon Faddoul, reflecting on the visit, said, “The Pope was a messenger of peace to an area that is in a state of continuous war. His presence in Lebanon could bring conflicting parties closer.” The Pope came to deliver the Apostolic Exhortation - the fruit of the Synod for the Middle East. “In this Exhortation, the Pope invites the Christians to act as citizens of the land by living out their citizenship fully,” said Fr Faddoul. “And invites the Muslims to accept differences in multi-religious societies.” The pope's visit served as a showcase for Lebanon, which for years was a model of peaceful coexistence and religious [...]
“I never dreamed we would have our own home again,” says Vadivaperumal Letchumi, putting the finishing touches to her new house, built with support of Caritas Sri Lanka. The 42-year-old widow lives in the north east of the country with her two children. It’s a region emerging from a three decade long civil war that ended in 2009. Her previous home was destroyed in that conflict and her family had to flee the fighting. Three years later, she is back and is looking forward to a more secure life with her son and daughter. The family is poor and some days can be tough, but she believes things are improving.“We’re at last living without fear,” said Vadivaperumal. “My daughter can finally go outside to play without me worrying.” As she and her daughter prepare the evening meal, her 18-year-old son returns home from his work as a fisherman. Her husband did not [...]