Formerly known as the Catholic Commission for Human Development, Caritas Thailand was founded in 1972 to carry out the Church’s holistic human development work. Caritas Thailand is the body responsible for the social action of the Thai Catholic Church under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand (CBCT).
Caritas Thailand’s mission is to love and serve the poor by promoting the dignity of the human person, strengthening the family institution and local community, recognising and supporting the common vocation to ministry towards the family of humankind, and living according to universal and cultural values that protect human life and the environment.
Some of its major activities include:
Empowerment of communities, especially vulnerable groups, through training in community-based disaster management, disaster risk reduction, improvement of livelihood, community leadership, recruitment of volunteers, etc.
Response to emergencies
Care of people who are physically and mentally challenged
Care of ethnic minority groups, migrants, prisoners and refugees
Promotion of care for the environment, e.g. sustainable agriculture
Raising awareness of issues relating to anti-human trafficking and promotion of a child-safe society
Promotion of human rights
Health initiatives including care for people living with HIV/AIDS, mobile medical clinics, training, etc.
The Caritas Thailand Secretariat in Bangkok serves as the hub for the 10 diocesan Caritas organisations spread throughout the country. Nationally, the agency employs over 120 staff (approximately 50 at national level and 70 at diocesan level) and has around 500 volunteers.
As a member of the Caritas Confederation, Caritas Thailand often collaborates and receives support from other Caritas agencies.
One positive result of the tsunami is that our Caritas national organisations and their ties with communities are strengthened. They’ve been able to use that strength as a gateway for other integral human development efforts.
Tsunami affected communities in Sri Lanka. Caritas organisations from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand joined confederation members from around the world, Church and other religious leaders in Sri Lanka 3-5 December to remember victims of the 2004 Asia tsunami.
COERR, the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief & Refugees, part of Caritas Thailand, helps about 10,000 of the refugees, working in all 9 camps, where it focuses on children who are living alone, are orphaned, living with relatives or otherwise in a vulnerable positions.
For weeks, Caritas has been helping families impacted by floods in Thailand. Now the floodwaters have arrived in the country’s capital. Father Bonnie Mendes, Regional Coordinator for Caritas Asia, is in Bangkok and reports on the situation.
As fighting on the border between Thailand and Cambodia continues, Caritas Cambodia together with the support of Caritas member Catholic Relief Services is aiding thousands of families who had to flee shelling.