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Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF)

Since SCIAF was founded in 1965 it has worked in solidarity with the poor and oppressed in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Millions of people have been helped to work their way out of poverty and many more have received life-saving aid after disasters. Inspired by the spirit and teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Mgr John Rooney and John McKee set up SCIAF in Rutherglen with just £8,000 in the first year. The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland appointed Bishop Michael Foylan as its first Treasurer.

Their aim, which SCIAF still follows today, was to help people who are poor throughout the world and inspire Scottish Catholics to respond to Jesus’ call for a just world in which all people have life and live it to the full.

As the Church teaches, SCIAF always gives more than financial support; it strives to cater for people’s physical, emotional, spiritual, social and economic well-being. As the international aid charity of the Bishops’ Conference in Scotland, SCIAF promotes dignity, solidarity, compassion, justice and caring for people in their entirety – accompanying them on their journey “from less human to more human conditions,” in the words of Pope Paul VI.

SCIAF supports over 90 long term development projects that focus on three key areas: helping people to grow food and make a living; building peace in countries that have been torn apart by war; and education for marginalised groups. Across all of its programmes, SCIAF seeks to promote equality between men and women, empower people with disabilities, care for those affected by HIV and AIDS, and action to help communities affected by climate change.

SCIAF’s responds to humanitarian disasters by providing immediate relief and long term support. This involves working with local partners on the ground to provide aid such as food, clean water, shelter, hygiene kits, medical care and cash for work. Long term recovery work ranges from rebuilding homes and income diversification.

Advocacy is a core part of SCIAF’s response to global poverty and injustice. This includes running targeted campaigns in Scotland to lobby governments, institutions and big business, to demand that they address the underlying causes of poverty such as unfair international trade practice. SCIAF also plays a key role is large coalitions including Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. At a grassroots level SCIAF works closely with schools, parishes and community groups to promote awareness and action across Scotland.

With its main office in Glasgow, Scotland, SCIAF employs approximately 35 staff and benefits from the active support of 200 volunteers. Overseas, SCIAF and its sister agencies CAFOD (England & Wales) and Trócaire (Ireland) run joint programmes from an office in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. In addition, SCIAF is also a member of CIDSE (International Co-operation for Development and Solidarity), an alliance of 16 Catholic development organisations from Europe and North America.

SCIAF is a member of Caritas Internationalis and partners with the worldwide network of Catholic aid agencies.

Caritas Updates from Scotland

  • A slice of Rio in Scotland

A slice of Rio in Scotland

  • 12 July 2013
By Val Morgan, SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) Scotland’s Rio is an event for the young people of Scotland to coincide with the World Youth Day being celebrated with Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013. It will take place at Stirling University Campus from Thursday 25 - Sunday 28 [...]
  • Scottish climate fund shows the way forward

Scottish climate fund shows the way forward

  • 31 May 2012
The announcement today of the Scottish Government's Climate Justice Fund has been welcomed by international development and environmental organisations in Scotland. The fund was launched by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, alongside former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.