Caritas Samoa was founded in February 2008 and became a full-fledged member of Caritas Internationalis in 2011. The collection of Pacific islands which form Samoa has a population under 200,000.
Caritas Samoa works in close partnership with Caritas agencies, international relief organisations, as well as the Samoan government’s National Disaster Management Office to provide assistance and training where needed. In 2012, after Cyclone Evan hit the Pacific Islands, knocking out power and destroying more than 1000 homes, Caritas Samoa partnered with Caritas agencies to provide immediate emergency relief provisions, such as food, water and generators for lighting, to thousands of people in Samoa, Fiji and elsewhere. Part of the aid included utilizing Caritas Samoa’s basement hall and three other centres, in partnership with the Red Cross, to provide shelter to more than 1000 people. In addition, Caritas Samoa also distributed emergency relief items from six pre-positioned containers-four on the main island of Upolu and two on Savai’i, to provide hygiene kits, jerry cans, tarpaulins and kitchen sets to help families establish temporary shelter and homes.
Apart from its work on emergency response, Caritas Samoa also provides assistance to low income families by providing food and clothing, promotes capacity building initiatives for women and helps with the improvement of rural waters supplies.
Caritas Samoa also takes part in peace and reconciliation on a grassroots level by improving relations between students in schools where there is unrest. Caritas Samoa intends to boost its work with young people by establishing a centre where young people can meet, learn and interact, and by giving encouragement to young people who dedicate their lives to the Church.
Caritas Samoa main office in Apia has a staff of around 5 employees and volunteers to supervise their programmes.
Caritas Samoa collaborates with the Caritas network to develop and implement their activities, such as Caritas Australia and a project involving Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand to build classrooms in schools following the Pacific tsunami of 2009 and Cyclone Evan in 2012.