Based in the Holy Land, Caritas Jerusalem is a humanitarian and development organization that represents the socio-pastoral service of the Catholic Church in Jerusalem. It was founded in 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, to respond to the overwhelming needs of Palestinian refugees.
The number of its beneficiaries, from all religious denominations, is approximately 30 000 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Since its inception, Caritas Jerusalem has been active with responding to humanitarian emergencies caused by the ongoing conflicts in the Holy Land.
Caritas Jerusalem operates in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem through five main departments.
The Social Services Department provides assistance through four types of actions: family emergency support, job creation, academic and medical assistance.
The Health Department operates 3 Health Centers in Aboud, Taybeh and Gaza and the Gaza mobile clinic serving 6 isolated areas.
The Livelihood and Food Security Department targets projects in agriculture, infrastructure and development with the purpose of creating jobs and income generating activities.
The Micro-Credit Department is the backbone of its development projects. It includes income generating loans, for housing, for education and emergency credits.
The Youth Department established in 2005 aims to promote long term development of civil society in Palestine, through exchange projects, Caritas friends in schools, graduation projects, advocacy and media projects and a volunteering program.
Caritas Jerusalem also founded in 1990 a Day Care Center in Ramallah that takes care of 65 isolated and underprivileged elderly persons. The centre monitors closely the health of its members and renders regular medical check-ups to screen for eyesight, diabetes and blood pressure level. We also provide them with hot meals three times a week. In year 1999, the Old City Counselling Center (OCCC) was established with the aim of helping the increasingly impoverished population of East Jerusalem and focusing more specifically on drug abuse issues.
Caritas Jerusalem headquarters is located in Jerusalem and it employs approximately 72 people. In addition, in 2005 Caritas Jerusalem initiated a volunteer programme to empower young people and facilitate activities. Caritas Jerusalem is present in 10 parishes around Ramallah and Bethlehem and is present in schools in Ramallah, Taybeh and Birzeit.
As a member of the world-wide network Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Jerusalem works with other Caritas organisations to support the humanitarian relief at home and around the world, such as Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Ahead of the fifth European Union donor conference on Syria, Caritas Internationalis shed light on the situation in Syria and urges the international community to act during the conference “Church and Caritas: 10 years of humanitarian response in Syria”.
The closeness of Caritas with the vulnerable people of Syria has grown stronger and stronger during ten years of war. We look back at just some of the moments of Caritas’s work during ten years of war in Syria.
Elias Hamwi has worked as a Caritas Syria project coordinator in the eastern part of Aleppo for over three years. Here he reflects on the challenges facing Syrians and Caritas staff, who also face the struggles of life in a war-torn country.
Caritas has served almost 400,000 people in Iraq since ISIS started attacking communities in 2014. Caritas Iraq currently helps 5000 families a month with programmes for psychological support, education, livelihoods, COVID-19, health, shelter, peacebuilding and developing the roles of women and youth.
Caritas Internationalis is with the Holy Father on this pilgrimage to Iraq, a crucial moment of expressing solidarity with Christians in the country and in the Middle East. It is moment to call for dialogue and reconciliation in a country recovering from decades of war.
On 15 March 2021, the Syrian conflict marks its tenth anniversary. For ten years now the Syrian war is still one of the most complex and protracted crises at a global level. The lack of access to education by Syrian children risks having a devastating impact on the future of the country.