Caritas Tonga work first began in 1972 as Commission the Catholic Commission for Justice and Development (CCJD), under the Bishop Conference of the Pacific (CEPAC). Caritas Tonga officially became a fully fledged member of Caritas Internationalis in 2002 and is an agency for justice, peace and development of the Catholic Diocese of Tonga and Niue in two independent nations in the South Pacific – Niue and the Kingdom of Tonga.
Through such campaigns such as Disaster Awareness & Climate Change, Caritas Tonga raises public awareness about the current environmental issues threatening Tonga such as deforestation and rising sea levels.
One Caritas Tonga initiative, Tonga Community Development Programme is working to restore dignity to families with low incomes and unemployed young people so that they can eventually become self-reliant. The beneficiaries run the projects so that young people are employed in initiatives of their own making, thereby ensuring long-term sustainability.
Caritas Tonga main office in Nuku’alofa has a staff of around 10 employees and 30 volunteers to carry out the agency’s activities. In addition, to the Secretariat there are 13 Caritas Parish committees in the Diocese of Tonga and Niue.
Caritas Tonga is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Oceania and collaborates with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and Caritas Australia to foster community and youth development, self-reliance and economic opportunities, and access to clean water and sanitation.