Caritas Australia - Our Story
1964 - 2014

Celebrating 50 years

Today Caritas Australia has 195 long-term programs and 143 partnerships in over 30 countries.
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Caritas Australia - Our Story: 1964 - 2014


The start of the Caritas movement in Australia

March 1964

The Catholic Overseas Relief Committee is tasked with coordinating a national fundraising campaign.
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The start of the Caritas movement in Australia

The Caritas movement was born in Australia in response to the community's growing awareness of global poverty and malnutrition. In 1960, the United Nations launched its Freedom from Hunger campaign; in the years that followed the campaign established a strong presence in Australia. The Australian Episcopal Conference joined the Freedom from Hunger campaign in 1962 and established the Catholic Church Relief Fund (CCRF) to handle requests for funding under the initiative. In March 1964, the CCRF became the Catholic Overseas Relief Committee and in November of the same year the Bishops established a permanent sub-committee of the laity to administer the Church's work in overseas relief.

Around the same time, parishioners in the dioceses of Adelaide, Sydney and Wagga Wagga were conducting local Lenten appeals to fund missionary work and poverty relief projects overseas. At the suggestion of Roy Boylan, Secretary of the Paulian Association in Sydney, the Australian Bishops agreed to support a national Lenten fundraising appeal for relief projects in the Asia-Pacific region. In November 1964, the Catholic Overseas Relief Committee was charged with overseeing the Lenten appeal as well as requests for assistance.

Project Compassion


November 1965

After the success of the first national Lenten appeal, the campaign is called 'Project Compassion'.
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Project Compassion

The Catholic Overseas Relief Committee coordinated its first national appeal in Lent 1965. The appeal raised the equivalent of $90,000 towards community 'self-help' projects in countries like Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Malaysia. Following the success of the first appeal, Roy Boylan and fellow Paulians, Mary Gilchrist and Dr John Farrar, convened a diocesan appeal committee in Sydney with representatives from seven lay organisations including the Legion of Mary and the Catholic Youth Organisation. The Committee met in November 1965 to coordinate future appeals and discuss a name for the annual Lenten fundraiser.

Faced with injustice of extreme global poverty, motivated by the Lenten tradition of almsgiving, and embracing Jesus' compassion for the poor, Roy Boylan and the Sydney diocesan committee recommended that the appeal be called 'Project Compassion'.

Project Compassion was held nationwide in Lent 1966 raising approximately $116,000.

The Committee becomes Australian Catholic Relief

August 1966

The Catholic Overseas Relief Committee becomes known as Australian Catholic Relief.
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The Committee becomes Australian Catholic Relief

At the Episcopal Conference meeting in August 1966, the Bishops' Committee for Social and Charitable Works agreed to rename the Catholic Overseas Relief Committee and reconstitute its structure. The change came in response to recognition of inequality in the Australian community as well as the impact of natural disasters on Catholic missions in Australia. Under its new name, Australian Catholic Relief, the organisation committed to respond to urgent need both on our shores and beyond.

With the change of name, the executive sub-committee was restructured as the National Advisory Committee whose members included Archbishop James Gleeson (Adelaide diocese), Bishop John Toohey (Maitland diocese), Monsignor George Crennan and representatives from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Catholic Immigration Office, and the Newman Institute of Christian Studies. Under its new structure, the Advisory Committee provided publicity for Project Compassion, represented ACR in its relationships with the Freedom from Hunger campaign, and made project grant and funding recommendations to the Episcopal Committee.

Australian Catholic Relief joins Force Ten

October 1971

Australian Catholic Relief becomes a co-sponsor of the ecumenical program, Force Ten.
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Australian Catholic Relief joins Force Ten

Jointly sponsored by Australian Catholic Relief and the Australian Council of Churches, Force Ten was a program for Australians who wished to involve themselves in the ongoing work of world development.

Members of the program would commit to making a monthly contribution, which would go towards funding development projects around the world. Each month, the members would receive an educational bulletin giving information about the program being sponsored that month, and on related issues of international concern. The Force Ten initiative finished in 2005.

Regular giving is still a vital lifeline for our work. In our Caritas Neighbours program, supporters provide a regular monthly donation, which helps us effectively plan our long-term development programs.

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Australian Catholic Relief joins Caritas Internationalis

December 1971

Australian Catholic Relief becomes the official Australian member of Caritas Internationalis
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ACR joins Caritas Internationalis

On many occasions over the years, Australian Catholic Relief channelled funds through Caritas Internationalis in response to requests for emergency help.

In 1971, ACR became the official Australian member of Caritas Internationalis.

Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations in over 200 countries and territories. From humble beginnings in Germany 1897, Lorenz Worthmann founded the first Caritas. The organisation, named after a Latin word meaning love and compassion, grew to become one of the largest aid and development agencies in the world. In the 20th Century, Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, laid the foundations for an international network. In 1954, Caritas Internationalis was officially recognised.

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Asian Partnership for Human Development Fund

September 1973

A partnership is established to fund development programs and facilitate knowledge exchange across Asia.
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Asian Partnership for Human Development Fund

Over the course of a decade, Australian Catholic Relief shifted its focus from aid and charity, to trade, long-term development and partnership. Emphasising the underlying causes of poverty and injustice, the agency looked for new opportunities to raise awareness in Australia and create lasting development opportunities in the poorest communities.

The Asian Partnership for Human Development (APHD) began as a bloc funding agreement between Catholic aid agencies in Australia and Canada, later Ireland. Within three years, the APHD pooled funds from 6 developed-nation agencies to run education and livelihood programs in 13 Asian countries. Ultimately the partnership embraced 21 member countries and became a valuable forum for communities and partners to exchange ideas and their experiences of development. As well as food security, livelihood and education programs, the APHD addressed the impacts of free trade and tourism in Asia, particularly gender-based poverty and trafficking.

Though the agency began to fund new local partnerships in Asia in the 1980s, we partnered with the APHD until its dissolution in 2008.

Indochina Crisis


December 1973

Launch of the Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Reconstruction Appeal, and a focus on refugees affected by conflict.
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Indochina Crisis

With ceasefire in South Vietnam and the prospect of reconstruction in Indochina, Australian Catholic Relief joined with the Australian Council of Churches, the Lutheran Church and the Baptist Church to launch the Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Christian Churches in Australia Reconstruction Appeal. The appeal resulted in an amount of $113,731 being received by the end of 1973.

In the following years, the numbers of the refugees from Indochina increased as violence intensified. Australian Catholic Relief focused efforts on supporting refugees from the region, providing support for food, clothing, shelter and resettlement of the victims of the fighting. Every effort was also made to convince the government to allow more refugees into Australia. Australian Catholic Relief's support of the work in this region goes back to the beginning of our existence.

First Diocesan Director Seminar


April 1975

The first ever National Diocesan Director seminar provided a forum for Diocesan Directors to share information.
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First Diocesan Director Seminar

In April 1975 the first ever National Seminar of Diocesan Directors was held at the Ave Maria Retreat House at Point Piper in Sydney. A range of issues were discussed during the seminar, including a review of the first 10 years of Project Compassion, and the importance of increased awareness of the role of the Church in promoting the integral development of all people.

Diocesan Director Seminars continue to be held annually to provide an opportunity for Diocesan Directors to gather together. The photo on the front depicts the Diocesan Directors present at the National seminar in 1980.

Diocesan Directors play a vital role at Caritas Australia, and often serve as a key link with the Catholic community. Many Diocesan Directors are supported by committees which help organise programs within their diocese. We are especially grateful for all the work done by the Diocesan Directors and their team, as they often work on a voluntary basis. Without their contribution, we would not be able to make these connections with local Catholic communities which are so vital to our work.

Project Compassion raises $1 million


April 1976

Project Compassion raises $1 million for the first time.
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Project Compassion raises $1 million

Project Compassion raises $1,015,929. This is the first time the annual Lenten appeal has raised over $1 million. It's a 27 percent increase on 1975.

First Immersion Study Tour


May 1976

Our first ever study tour saw a group of teachers, religious and church workers travel to Philippines.
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First Immersion Study Tour

Australian Catholic Relief sponsored its first ever study tour for teachers, religious and church workers in May 1976. The group spent 14 days in the Philippines with NASSA (our local partner in the country), learning about their emergency and development work, meeting people from the programs, and reflecting on the work being done in relation to the mission of the Church. The group had a first-hand introduction to disaster relief when a typhoon struck Manila and marooned them for two days!

Since then, we have supported numerous immersion trips for members of the Australian community to visit our partners and programs in overseas countries. This first-hand experience of aid and development is aimed at increasing the awareness and understanding of global poverty and injustices among the Australian community. Many of our immersion participants are students and teachers, who come back and share their experiences among their own communities and networks.

Kampuchean (Cambodian) Relief Appeal

September 1979

Australian Catholic Relief launches its first major emergency appeal for victims of the Kampuchean genocide.
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Kampuchean (Cambodian) Relief Appeal

With the fall of the Pol Pot regime in Kampuchea (much of present day Cambodia), the world looked on in horror as the genocidal nature of the regime was laid bare. Abhorred by reports of the atrocities perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979, Australian Catholic Relief (ACR) supported a joint relief effort with a Catholic consortium of development agencies and launched an appeal for Kampuchea.

The Kampuchean Relief appeal collected an astounding $1.5m in two weeks - as much as the agency had raised in the previous year. With this outpouring of public support, ACR provided urgent assistance in the worst affected communities and forged strong local partnerships that remain today.

Without a local partner in Cambodia, ACR employed a local staff member to distribute humanitarian relief and implement sustainable development programs in the fragile nation. Under the supervision of Onesta Carpene, the agency's program in Cambodia grew to become ACR's single largest overseas commitment for the next 15 years.

Photo: Photo on the front shows the devastation in Phnom Penh (Credit: CCFD).

Lenten visitors in Australia


March 1984

Our 20th anniversary was marked with special Lenten visitors
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Lenten visitors in Australia

Since the early 1970s, we have arranged for prominent people to visit Australia during Lent. These visits give our supporters the chance to connect on a personal level with people working in developing countries.

To mark our 20th anniversary in 1984, our Diocesan Directors asked that a special effort be made with our Lenten visitors. Four Churchmen, prominent in promoting human development in their own countries, visited almost every diocese in the country. The tour was a great success, and the words of one visitor - Abba Stephanos Tedla from Ethiopia - inspired the Project Compassion theme for the following year: " Help us not because we are poor, but because we are part of your family."

Photo on the front: Bishop Antonio Fortich (from the Philippines) and ACR's Chairman, Bishop John Gerry discuss the 1985 Project Compassion theme.

African famine appeal


October 1984

Australians gave generously to help people affected by famine in Africa.
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African famine appeal

By October 1984, news of the famine that affected millions of people in Africa had been taken up by the media. Emergency aid was delivered across Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Benin, Togo, Central African Republic, Kenya, Zambia, Lesotho, the Gambia and Zaire.

Photo: The smile of a child brightened a grim scene as people awaited food distribution at a Feeding Centre in Ethiopia.

Pacific Regional Partnership


July 1985

After many years of planning, the Pacific Partnership for Human Development was established.
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Pacific Regional Partnership

The Pacific Partnership for Human Development (PPHD) was established by the Bishops' Conferences of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific. The Partnership was forged as a way to coordinate across the geographically diverse region. In 1996 the PPHD was taken over by Caritas Oceania.
Photo: Carol Lee/CIRIC/PPHD

'Simply Not Enough' Campaign


April 1987

Australian Catholic Relief launched a campaign to try to prevent drastic cuts to Australia's foreign aid budget.
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'Simply Not Enough' Campaign

In 1970, the United Nations agreed that economically advanced countries should increase their overseas development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 1975. By 1980, Australia had committed just 0.45% of GDP to foreign aid. Then from the mid-80s the Government delivered a series of budget cuts that saw Australia's ODA reduced by almost 25% by the end of the decade. With Australia's ODA commitments dropping to around 0.3% of GDP, Australian Catholic Relief (ACR) and a group of Christian aid bodies launched the 'Simply Not Enough' campaign urging Australians to protest foreign aid cuts that threatened the world's poorest communities.

One World Week


August 1988

One World Week aimed to increase public awareness of the importance of justice and peace.
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One World Week

One World Week was held for several years in the 1980s and 90s. Each year, the week focused on a particular theme, such as peace, Indigenous peoples, the environment, poverty and economics. In 1988, the title of One World Week was "Paying for Poverty" and highlighted the effect that international debt has on the poor.

South African Elections


April 1994

Australian Catholic Relief representatives head up a team to help monitor the election in South Africa.
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South African Elections

As plans were being made for South Africa's first election since Apartheid, the Southern African Bishops Conference appealed to the Church throughout the world to take part in peace monitoring before and after the election. Between June 1993 and April 1994, 17 representatives of the Church in Australia joined the international monitoring team in South Africa. The Australian team was headed up by six representatives including Australian Catholic Relief chairman Bishop George Pell, ACSJC chairman Bishop William Brennan, Br Charles Howard of the Marist Brothers, National Council Member-Patricia Banister, and staff member of ACR, Ms Beth Gilligan.

Rwandan genocide response


April 1994

Australian Catholic Relief was amongst the first international development agencies to respond to the emergency.
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Rwandan genocide response

1994 saw one of the worst genocides of our lifetimes when hundreds of thousands of women, men and children lost their lives in the violence that engulfed Rwanda. In the 100 days that followed the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana on 6 April 1994, it is estimated that an average of six people were killed every minute of every hour of every day, while the international community failed to intervene.

Australian Catholic Relief was amongst the first international development agencies to respond to the humanitarian emergency in Rwanda. Together with local partners in Tanzania, Burundi and Zaire, we accompanied Caritas Rwanda as they worked to address the needs of a nation ravaged by war.

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Australian Catholic Relief becomes Caritas Australia

July 1996

The agency embraces a new name in solidarity with the International Caritas Confederation.
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Australian Catholic Relief becomes Caritas Australia

1996 was a year of transformation for the agency. After three decades as Australian Catholic Relief, we became Caritas Australia and our then National Director, Michael Whiteley, retired after almost 20 years.

With 146 Caritas agencies then operating in 198 countries, the name 'Caritas' had been discussed as an alternative to Australian Catholic Relief for several years. Indeed 'Caritas Australia' was the agency's secondary name for two years before it was formally adopted. Acknowledging the significance of the Caritas Internationalis confederation, and reflecting the agency's desire to work in closer partnership with the global network of Catholic development organisations, the agency was renamed and our new National Director, Tom Story, led Caritas Australia on a journey of organisational change.

With its new name, the agency embraced a renewed focus on professionalism, partnership, sustainable development, and community engagement.

Campaigning against landmines


October 1997

Caritas Australia played a key role in advocating for Australia to sign an international treaty banning landmines.
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Campaigning against landmines

Caritas Australia joined the Campaign to Ban Landmines in 1995. We coordinated the gathering of 209,000 petition signatures that were presented to the Australian Senate. In 1997 the Government signed the 'Ottawa Convention' international landmine treaty. We continued our landmine advocacy work for a number of years after the historic signing.

Photos: Fr. Brian Gore and Onesta Carpene.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer signs the new treaty, assisted by International Campaign to Ban Landmines, ICBLs Australian coordinator, Sr Patricia Pak Poy.

Papua New Guinea office established


June 1998

Caritas Australia staff join reconstruction efforts in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.
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Papua New Guinea office established

For years Bougainville was wracked with fighting between government forces and an independence army. The conflict took a terrible toll on the island, with around 20,000 people killed and infrastructure destroyed. After the widespread conflict ended in 1998, Caritas Australia established a presence on the ground to help with reconstruction efforts.

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Pilot Just Leadership Day


February 1999

The pilot year of Just Leadership Days brought student leaders together to reflect on issues of social justice.
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Pilot Just Leadership Day

1999 saw Caritas Australia's Global Education program move into an exciting new area, with the pilot of the Just Leadership program for senior primary and secondary students. These days brought student leaders together to reflect on issues of human development, human rights, poverty and injustice. Students were encouraged to think of ways they could incorporate a sense of justice into their leadership. Just Leadership Days continue to be a popular program in schools.
Photo on the front: Students are pictured with Bishop Carlos Belo who with Jose Ramos-Horte had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996.

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Festival of Global Concern


April 1999

The first Festival of Global Concern is held in NSW.
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Festival of Global Concern

The first Festival of Global Concern was held in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Across three days, around 200 students from over 50 schools reflected on issues such as reconciliation, world poverty, racial discrimination and environmental destruction through song, dance, art, discussion, prayer and reflection. Festivals were held annually from 1999 to 2007.

'On the ground' presence in Timor Leste

December 1999

Caritas Australia launched an operational presence in Timor Leste that today has grown to 70 staff.
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'On the ground' presence in Timor Leste

When Indonesian forces invaded Timor Leste in 1975, Australian Catholic Relief (ACR) began providing support for Timorese refugees in Australia and Portugal. As conflict gripped the country for more than two decades, ACR urged the Australian community to respond and supported local Church authorities to provide welfare, health and education services in camps and communities on the ground. In the wake of Timor Leste's successful referendum in 1999, and spates of anti-independence violence that followed, Caritas Australia helped to lead an urgent humanitarian response in the country. In the two years following independence, we established a permanent presence in Timor Leste, distributed urgent food, water and supplies in the refugee camps, and provided shelter for hundreds of families whose homes had been reduced to ashes.

Fifteen years later, you can still see the shelter kits used in communities but our work has become much more than a humanitarian response. Today we have around 70 staff in two offices; in Dili and Oecusse.

Photo: Photo on the front shows a distribution of rice in Dili, East Timor in 1999 (Credit: Matthias Heng).

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Project Compassion raises $5 million


April 2000

With the theme of 'Help Build a Better Future Now', Project Compassion raised over $5 million for the first time.
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Project Compassion raises over $5 million

In 2000, Caritas Australia's Project Compassion appeal raised $5,071,299.33.

As the year of the Jubilee, 2000 was a time to act for justice, and so the theme for the year was Help Build a Better Future Now.

Beginning of the Australian Indigenous Program Team

November 2002

The new team was formed in recognition of the importance of our partnerships with First Australians.
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Beginning of the Australian Indigenous Program Team

In Lent 1964 parishioners in Adelaide, convinced of the need for justice at home, raised 1000 pounds to purchase a deep-sea fishing vessel for an Aboriginal community at Bathurst Island. Following their example, Caritas Australia has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projects every year since 1973. In 2002 the Australian Indigenous Programs team was formed recognising that our Australian program work required a designated co-ordinator, given its vital importance. In 2012 our Australian Indigenous Program changed its name to become our First Australians Program. This change, requested by our partners, better reflects their unique relationship of belonging to the country. Through our partnerships with First Australians, we support communities and organisations to implement their own solutions to the challenges facing their communities. Through our relationships shaped by mutual learning, we look forward to their growing influence on Caritas Australia's work and identity.

Photo: In 2012, Caritas Internationalis president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga visited The Purple House in Alice Springs, a medical service run by our partner the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation.

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Solomon Islands office established


June 2004

Caritas Australia established a presence 'on the ground' in the Solomon Islands.
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Solomon Islands office established

In 2004 Caritas Australia established an 'on the ground presence' in the Solomon Islands by appointing Adam Elliot as Program Manager based in Honiara. The photo below shows our Solomon Islands office staff in 2012, with Adam at the right. Today the office has four staff members.

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Expanding our presence in Africa


December 2004

Caritas Australia established a Regional Support Office in Nairobi, Kenya
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Expanding our presence in Africa

In December 2004 Caritas Australia established a Regional Support Office in Nairobi to improve our engagement with our partners in Africa, play a greater role in regional networks and promote cross-learning between our Africa programs. The picture at left shows Nairobi staff, Australian staff and African partners workshopping at the office in 2010.

The Boxing Day Asian Tsunami


December 2004

The emergency appeal raised $25 million transforming communities as well as our agency.
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The Boxing Day Asian Tsunami

On 26 December 2004, a 9.3 magnitude earthquake struck in the Indian Ocean triggering a massive tsunami – one of the most devastating natural disasters on record. The tsunami claimed approximately one quarter of a million lives, displaced millions of people, and destroyed houses, roads, bridges, schools, marketplaces and livelihoods.

In response to this unprecedented emergency, Caritas Australia conducted the largest fundraising appeal in our history. Between the 2004 and 2005 financial years, the agency's annual revenue increased three-fold to more than $40 million. Managing unprecedented donations to the tune of $25 million, the Boxing Day Tsunami was a turning point for the agency; it transformed our relationship with the Australian public and deepened our commitment to walk steadfast in solidarity with the poorest of the poor.

In partnership with members of the international Caritas confederation, our response ensured emergency assistance reached close to a million people in the worst affected communities across India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

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Focus on HIV/AIDS


June 2005

Caritas Australia's focus on HIV/AIDS work was strengthened in 2004-2005.
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Focus on HIV/AIDS

Caritas Australia has over 20 years of experience in responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 2004-2005, our focus on HIV/AIDS was strengthened as we developed our policy on HIV/AIDS, asserting our commitment to working with those who are HIV positive and those who are living with AIDS related illnesses. The policy's emphasis on prevention and treating patients without discrimination has set a clear standard for our HIV/AIDS work in every country where we work.

Throughout the world, AIDS affects populations already rendered vulnerable because of poverty. In 2004-2005, Caritas Australia brought this to the attention of the media through a series of school lectures and a press conference on World AIDS Day, which received wide publicity and provided positive information about our work in HIV/AIDS prevention and management.

Make Poverty History


October 2006

Over 120,000 Australians took a stand against poverty in the 'Stand Up' campaign.
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Make Poverty History


Caritas Australia increased its commitment to promoting awareness of the Millennium Development Goals in the early 2000s, and became involved in 'Make Poverty History' campaign, an international campaign that has as its centrepiece the achievement of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In 2004-2005, Caritas Australia's then CEO, Jack de Groot, was nominated Chair of Make Poverty History by the Australian Council for International Development. This set the stage for the agency to become a key player in this advocacy work in following years.

Since it began, the campaign has educated and encouraged thousands of Australians to take action to make poverty history, including in the 2006 'Stand Up' campaign which saw over 120,000 people take a stand.

As a result of the campaign, the Australian Government committed to increase aid budget to $4 billion by 2010.

Be More campaign launch


August 2007

The Be More campaign urged Australians to make lifestyle changes and take action for social justice.
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Be More campaign launch

"Aspire not to have more, but to be more." These words of Archbishop Oscar Romero inspired Caritas Australia's 'Be More' campaign. The Be More campaign invited individuals and groups to be agents of change in their community by taking action for environmental and social justice. Key events of the campaign were the annual Be More Weekends in August, which were three days of community action aimed at encouraging people to rethink the way they live.

Cyclone Nargis


May 2008

Support provided to communities affected by Cyclone Nargis, the most destructive disaster in Burma's history.
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Cyclone Nargis

Cyclone Nargis struck Burma/ Myanmar on 2 May 2008. It was the worst recorded natural disaster in Myanmar, killing 140,000 people, and leaving more than two million people without homes. Working with local partners, Caritas Australia provided emergency support to more than 150,000 people affected by the disaster. The emergency response included providing food and non-food items, water, provisional shelter, and medical and psychosocial care.

In the longer term, Caritas Australia has also provided support to the rebuilding of homes, restoring of safe water supplies, and educating communities in Disaster Risk Reduction strategies to prepare for future emergencies. Since the disaster struck in 2008, many of the communities have now developed plans and strategies to respond to future disasters.

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Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo

October 2008

'Caritas Australia publishes 'Forsaken Voices', a ground-breaking report.
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Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo


A ground-breaking report released by Caritas Australia Forsaken Voices, Desecration and Plunder in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) detailed the horrific effects that violence, child soldiers and extractive industries have on the DRC. The report, which featured on ABC and SBS television, aimed to raise awareness and support for vulnerable people in the DRC. The report was highly successful, raising funds for Caritas Australia's work in the DRC and encouraging greater government support for the country. Caritas Australia is currently working on a follow-up report.

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Blueprint for a Better World


February 2009

Interactive exhibition on the Millennium Development Goals toured Australia.
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Blueprint for a Better World


Blueprint for a Better World was a nationwide interactive exhibition about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the global effort to eradicate poverty. A joint venture between Caritas Australia and the Australian Government, the campaign aimed to educate Australians about the MDGs and invite them to take action. From February 2009 to October 2010, the exhibition was visited by 27,000 people in 20 cities.

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Communities in Crisis


October 2009

Caritas Australia responds to communities in crisis in the Asia Pacific region
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Communities in Crisis

In October 2009, Caritas Australia launched its Asia Pacific Appeal: Communities in Crisis – raising $4,092,936.

The appeal helped communities who were affected by the tsunami which struck the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga; the typhoon stricken countries of the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam; and the earthquake damaged island of Sumatra.

Action for a just climate


September 2011

Our supporters called for more action to help vulnerable communities adapt to a changing climate.
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Action for a just climate


In September 2011, Kateia Kaikai from Kiribati and Caritas Australia's Alexandra Engel presented Climate Change Minister Greg Combet with over 1,500 signatures calling for more action to help developing countries deal with climate change. Thousands of our supporters signed the petition, raised awareness and reduced their own ecological footprint.

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Project Compassion raises over $10 million

June 2012

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, over $10 million was raised for Project Compassion!.
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Project Compassion raises over $10 million

"If you want peace, work for justice". That was the theme of Project Compassion 2012, when we aimed to reach $10 million to support our life-changing programs.

Thanks to the generosity of the Australian community, we broke through the $10 million mark and raised over $10.7 million!

Walk As One campaign launch


August 2012

Caritas Australia supporters pledge to 'Walk As One' in solidarity with Indigenous communities.
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Walk As One campaign launch


Our Walk As One campaign was officially launched with a smoking ceremony at a Sydney forum in August 2012. Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders from Australia and overseas worked on action plans to promote Indigenous rights. Since then, our supporters have held film screenings, signed our petition, and spread the word.

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Typhoon Haiyan Aid Response


November 2013

Caritas Australia responds to Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to have ever made landfall.
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Typhoon Haiyan Aid Response

Typhoon Haiyan caused widespread destruction, killing thousands of people, and leaving nearly 4 million people displaced. Over one million shelters were left uninhabitable or un-repairable, and the hardest-hit areas were left with no water, no food and no electricity supplies.

Through the generous support of the Australian community, Caritas Australia supported almost 650,000 people devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Along with our network partners, CRS (Caritas USA) and Caritas Philippines, we worked in close coordination across a number of dioceses to deliver emergency food, shelter, water and sanitation, and psycho-social support. We are now continuing to work with those affected to help families rebuild their homes, communities and livelihoods.

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A Just World


June 2014

For 50 years, Caritas Australia has been committed to building a just world.
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A Just World

In 2013, Pope Francis said, "Each day, we all face the choice to be Good Samaritans or to be indifferent travellers passing by".

For 50 years, Caritas Australia has been committed to building a just and compassionate world for our brothers and sisters worldwide, and we thank you for journeying with us.

With 195 long-term programs, 143 dedicated partners and an international humanitarian emergency team, every day we are working to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity for the poorest of the poor.

Thank you for your solidarity, compassion and support; together we can look towards the future.