Caritas Australia is the Catholic Agency for international aid and development working in over 35 countries and territories around the world. In 2008/09, over $25million was spent overseas and domestically, encouraging communities in self-reliance through development programs. Reflecting the principles of Catholic Social teaching, Caritas Australia works with the local people of a particular country in all of its programs.
We work in the field through our local partners. This partnership approach is central to our philosophy that international partners are best placed to identify their own community’s needs and problems enabling Caritas to keep their costs low, ensuring a higher percentage of donations gets to where it’s needed most.
Caritas Australia belongs to the second largest humanitarian network in the world, Caritas Internationalis, comprising of 165 Catholic relief aid, development and social service organisations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories.
Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion began in 1966 and is now the largest humanitarian fundraising campaign in Australia raising over $8.7million in 2009. Beginning on Ash Wednesday each year and running through the six weeks of Lent, Project Compassion raises money to fund community empowerment programs that help some of the most marginalised people living in poverty, to help themselves. Every Catholic school, every Catholic parish and all Australians are invited to be part of the Project Compassion campaign each Lent.
Each year, for Project Compassion, Catholic school children across Australia are encouraged to consider those less fortunate than themselves and take real action in the fight against global poverty. Participating schools receive educational materials that teachers can use to help broaden the way children view the world. These educational resources include six week lesson plans for teachers and Religious Education personnel that offer a wide array of activities based around the six different personal stories each week of Lent. The lessons include worksheets for Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Secondary students across a range of curriculum areas, including Language, HSIE, Mathematics and Religious Education. There are also a variety of online teaching resources, including You Tube and Teacher Tube film clips as well as PowerPoint presentations that provide a variety of interactive teaching tools. The DVD and photo galleries also provide a rich multimedia experience for children.
The fundraising resources in each Educational Kit and on the Project Compassion website, greatly add to the Project Compassion experience for children. The `What your dollars can do’ posters, `Chickytas’ poster and fundraising ideas booklet, provide inspiration for teachers and children and help them to see how the money they raise actually helps communities around the world to help themselves.
During the six weeks of Lent, international speakers often visit schools and parishes to participate in public speaking events that help to tell children of their personal experience with some of the hundreds of grassroots community development programs which are supported by Project Compassion. This provides children with real stories that they can engage with and allows them to see the work that Project Compassion fundraising activities helps fund.
Project Compassion is one Australia’s most important fundraising appeals. We thank all participating schools for their support and for being a part this important work and we welcome new schools who wish to be a part of this great success story. You can always get involved in Project Compassion. To order your schools pack, your Project Compassion box for your small change, please visit the website contact us on or email. It makes a big difference!