Didier (second from left) and her family receive COVID-19 training on how to wear a mask by Caritas Bangladesh case worker, Shara D'Silva, inside their shelter in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar region of Bangladesh in August 2020. Photo credit: Inmanuel Chayan Biswas/Caritas Bangladesh.

Global Issues

A better world for the vulnerable 

Poverty and injustice can hinder a community’s progress leaving it vulnerable to more harm in the form of conflict, disease, natural disasters and inequality. We are working alongside women, men and children in vulnerable communities around the world to overcome these challenges. By focusing on significant global issues, such as health, education, women’s rights, food and water security and other critical issues in vulnerable countries around the world. 


Vulnerable communities face significant challenges to their health and ability to access affordable medicine and basic health care – and burden a community’s development for years on end. Poor health, hygiene, sanitation and access to safe drinking water can significantly affect all aspects of life. We’re working with communities on the ground to improve health, wellbeing and access to health care. 


Marvelous Bere, Headmaster at Msuna Primary School in rural Tanzania, teaches a class of young students. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright, Caritas Australia.

Children without an education lack the confidence and skills they need for a secure future leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and neglect. Our programs support the education of children regardless of their situations because of how it can transform their lives and communities.

Women and development

Martina (left) outside her home talking with Domingas Tilman, her councillor from Uma Paz women's refuge in Baucau, Timor-Leste. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Women’s rights in developing countries are still far behind the rest of the world. Every day, women and girls experience inequality, exploitation and gender-based violence. We’re working closely with vulnerable communities to uphold women’s rights and advocate for gender equality. 

Food security

Dinia has been part of the Intergrated Community Development (ICD) project run by Caritas Australia partner SPACFI: the Socio-Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc. (SPACFI) since 2011. Through SPACFI she has received livelihood training in System of Rice Intensification (SRI), vermiculture, intensive organic farming and making taro and cassava chips. She was trained in breeding hogs and was part of the hog dispersal program for her community. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Multiple factors impact food security in marginalised communities causing widespread hunger and malnutrition that can threaten lives and livelihoods. We work with families to help ensure that they are prepared by having reliable and sustainable sources of food all year round.

First Australians

Barry teaching his daughter (7) dot painting at his home in Bateman's Bay, Australia. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Every day we’re supporting Indigenous communities across Australia with improved access to skills training and employment opportunities, cultural healing and inter-generational support programs. Standing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for their rights and culture is the core of our First Australians program. 


Thandolwayo (9) from Tanzania washes her face from the new water pipe, installed in her village with the support of Caritas Australia. Before the pipe was installed, Thandolwayo and other members of the community had to walk over 5km one way at least once a day down a steep and dangerous hill to collect dirty water from the Gweyi river. She would often get sick and miss school from illness and being tired from collecting water. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Clean water and sanitation are essential to a community’s progress. Without access to water, livelihoods, health care and even education can come to a grinding halt. We are constantly working to build better water distribution and sanitation systems for communities who need them the most.

Climate justice

Aloma (right) has been part of the Intergrated Community Development (ICD) project run by Caritas Australia partner SPACFI: the Socio-Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc. (SPACFI) since 2011. Through the program, Aloma received training in environmental conservation and protection and in Disaster Risk Reduction. She also received first aid and rescue training along with simple bookkeeping skills and is now the treasurer of the Baranguy Pag-Asa DRR Committee. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Environmental change is affecting the way our world operates. Many of the communities we work with depend on a climate regularity to support their livelihoods and healthy living. However, when impacted by irregular changes in climate, these communities need something to fall back on. 


Phuong* (name changed) was born with hydrocephalus, a medical condition which causes seizures and makes speaking and walking difficult. He lives with his parents, two younger brothers and grandparents in a small house in a poor area of Quang Tri Province in Vietnam. Phuong's life transformed with with the support of Caritas Australia. Photo: Caritas Indonesia.

People living with disabilities are disadvantaged by inadequate facilities, a lack of access to education, health care and support services. Apart from these, they also live with social stigma and discrimination in their communities. Our disability programs help to empower people living with disabilities and better educates their communities. 


Angel (8) is part of the indigenous Manide community of Camarines Norte, in the Philippines. She and her family suffer discrimination against their ethnicity and culture, and also live in poverty. They have been part of a Caritas Australia funded project run by local partner SPACFI to help strengthen the capacities of the Manide people to manage livelihoods and advocate for their rights over their ancestral lands, securing cultural conservation and integrity. It also enhances their capacity to access health, education, safe drinking water, housing support and sanitation. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Thousands of vulnerable communities remain vulnerable because people are unable to escape poverty. Interlinked with injustice and inequality, it poses a complex challenge and denies families the choice to live better lives. We are working to end the injustice of poverty by empowering individuals with tools to fight poverty and its causes. 


During the COVID-19 crisis, Laz Harfa - our local partner in Indonesia - helped remote communities through awareness-raising posters, information boards and installing handwashing facilities in public places. They also helped set up a public rice barn where those who could afford to donate rice gave to people who had lost their jobs. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Around the world, marginalised communities are severely underprepared to deal with COVID-19, pushing them further into poverty and illness. We’re reaching these communities with vital food and health assistance, awareness programs and sanitation supplies to help minimise the impact of the virus. 


Oliva works in fields growing beans near her home in Karatu District in Tanzania, August 2020. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.

Many of the communities we work with rely on agriculture for food and livelihoods. Events such as natural disaster, drought and conflicts can have a severe impact on agriculture. We’re supporting farmers with sustainable agricultural methods to help strengthen food security and sovereignty in their communities. 


Communities already living with poverty are at increased risk from natural disasters which can have long-term effects on the lives and livelihoods of people making them more vulnerable. During emergencies, we work with our local partner organisations to reach some of the world’s most remote communities with emergency aid when they need it the most.