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Caritas of Azerbaijan
Caritas Azerbaijan assisted poor and marginalized people from 2003 until 2007. The Catholic Church has a chequered history in Azerbaijan: it was proscribed under the communist regime, but was re-founded in 2000; in March 2008 the first Catholic Church was consecrated in Baku, the capital. The Catholic population of Azerbaijan is 450 people, of whom 200 are foreign nationals, in a country that is predominantly Shia muslim. The number of Catholics is increasing every year.
The work of Caritas Azerbaijan includes:
Although Azerbaijan is theoretically a rich country because of its petroleum reserves, most of the population lives in absolute poverty. Healthcare has to be paid for, the schools are poorly organized 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. There is no social support or assistance.