Azerbaijan

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Address: Mammad Araz St. 69b/1, AZ-1069 Baku, Azerbaijan
Telephone: +994 51 701 9691 Fax: +994 12 436 09 43
Email: caritasazerbaijan@gmail.com
Facebook: Caritas in Azerbaijan
www.catholic.az

Caritas Azerbaijan has been assisting poor and marginalised people since 2003. The Catholic Church itself has a long – and in sense – short history in Azerbaijan. It was prohibited under the communist regime, but was re-founded in 2000, and in 2007 the first Catholic Church was consecrated in the capital Baku. The Catholic population of Azerbaijan is special, and not that easy to describe in terms of numbers. The majority are people from all over the world, mostly working or studying in Azerbaijan. The local community is rather divided between the Russian speaking and Azeri speaking groups, who of course meet and pray together as one big family united in God. The country’s main faith is the Muslim religion (95%). Pope Saint John Paul II visited the country in 2002 and Pope Francis in 2016, both of which were blessed and fruitful visits.

Although Azerbaijan is theoretically a rich country because of its petroleum reserves, a lot of the population lives in poverty. Healthcare has to be paid for, the schools are poorly organised, and there are no places where young people can meet socially or for sport. Drug abuse and the spread of HIV and AIDS are serious problems: 100 people die of related causes in the capital every year. The government tries to help the poor and the needy, and social and support programmes do exist, but there is still a great deal of work to be done.

The work carried out by Caritas Azerbaijan includes:

  • A soup kitchen that provides 50 meals a day, including on Sundays, for the children of the parish;
  • Fundraising to support adoption programmes in Azerbaijan for orphans and other disadvantaged children;
  • Youth centres with after-school activities for children, aimed at helping them with their studies and providing courses in English and other skills to increase employment possibilities in areas such as information technology and carpet making;
  • Shelters for the homeless with 30 beds run by the Sisters of Holy Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and summer camps by the sea for 200 children.

Caritas Azerbaijan is currently a coordinating organisation which helps with the Catholic Church’s existing social commitments, including support for its social programmes and activities (local parishioners, foreign parishioners, the Salesian Brothers, priests and nuns, the Sisters of Mother Teresa, child sponsorships, the Mary Centre, with more than 400 young people and children for educational and after-school activities, summer and winter camps, local and foreign volunteers, free legal assistance, consultancy and advocacy, as well as motivation activities for social engagement and volunteering).

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