By supporting education and development for those most marginalised, Catholic schools and the Australian community are helping to improve the lives of all members of our global family. Together, through Caritas Australia programs, we are building strong communities and transforming millions of lives.
Catholic schools participate closely with the work of Caritas Australia, the international humanitarian relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in Australia. Over 50 years, millions of passionate young people have helped us in our work to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity of those most marginalised globally.
In 2016, over 85% of Catholic Schools participated in Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten campaign, Project Compassion, with school students, their families, parishes and the Australian community donating $11.1 million.
Running through the six weeks of Lent each year, Project Compassion, is an extraordinary, ongoing demonstration of the faith, love and generosity of caring supporters, all in the name of justice and peace. It is the lifeblood of Caritas Australia; without it, we could not do the vital work we do.
Caritas works in more than 29 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific and Australia.
In 2017, the theme for Project Compassion is “Love your neighbour”, inspiring students and the wider community to take up the gospel’s call to treat others as we wish to be treated and to create a more just society for all. This year, Project Compassion demonstrates how love for our neighbours can transform lives.
When mutual respect is fostered, communities become stronger and more resilient. This can only lead to a better future for our world, the world that Pope Francis has recently called “our common home”.
Throughout Project Compassion 2017, inspiring stories from the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Australia, Vietnam and Fiji will be shared with students and communities across Australia, highlighting the importance of working hand in hand with communities around the world and calling you to “love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matt 22:39)
Here is the story of Dinia from the Philippines.
Dinia’s story – “I have a feeling of contentment, being able to help others.”
Dinia was pregnant with her fifth child when her husband died, suddenly and unexpectedly. She lost not only her husband, but also the financial security his job at the mines brought. The only way she could earn anything at all was by collecting shells and crabs from the seashore and selling them.
In 2011, a Caritas partner organisation began working with Dinia. She has been able to develop a sustainable income through a livelihoods program that helps both her and her neighbours.
Poverty is widespread in the Philippines, with more than a third of the people living below the poverty line of AU$1.66 a day. Around 10 million of the poorest people are women. Poverty is the most severe in rural areas, with almost 80 per cent of the country’s most vulnerable people living there.
In her village in the Philippines, Dinia is a strong force. Active in her local People’s Organisation, she also shares her farming and natural healing skills.
Her strength comes from her own journey of healing, which began in shock and despair.
“I didn’t have other income aside from my husband’s from his work as a miner,” she says.
“After he died, I used to collect shells and crabs from the seashore to sell. That was my main source of income … it was a very small income.”
Dinia flourished thanks to education and development programs supported by Caritas Australia.
Today, she has an integral role in her community, a sustainable livelihood, and a brighter future for her children.
“My life is much better now. It is much easier,” Dinia says.
Through your generosity during Project Compassion, you are supporting women like Dinia, and our neighbours worldwide, empowering the most vulnerable people to grow stronger and share their strengths with their communities.
Please donate to Project Compassion 2017 by calling 1800 024 413 or visiting www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion.