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My natural optimism has never unsighted me to the fact that we have got a lot of work to achieve the benchmark level of social change as an organization. In fact it has served to encourage me on to be generous in my efforts being mindful of the present social, political and economic environments which dominate the world stage. In year 2017, we plan for the future, yes, but the only moments over which any of us have control is now. On this Golden opportunity of Golden Jubilee Celebration now is the time and it is up to all of us to shape the present, in full awareness that we are laying the foundation for the next years with wider horizons of development and national impact.
At the significant moment in the living history of Caritas Pakistan, it is important and necessary to remember and reflect on our past as we recall all the people of vision who laid the foundation for an organization, and we gratefully acknowledge their unforgettable role in the growth and development of Caritas Pakistan. In the light of all this accumulated efforts the theme for our Golden Jubilee is “Together We Proceed” setting importance of unity to bring about change in best of community service.
This booklet is intended not only to reflect chronicles of Caritas Pakistan over the 50 years but it also explains the fact that as a nation we are a resilient and resourceful nation with a determined spirit. I would like to use this opportunity to call on all Caritas staff, stakeholders and volunteers to come together during this celebration and to use this “Golden Opportunity” to renew our efforts to achieve the highest level of community development and an opportunity for regeneration of our efforts as well as organization. All those stakeholders and partners who had extended their cooperation and always supported through financial, morally and technically in true spirit of brotherhood and partnership in these fifty years deserve immense appreciation.
The milestones we achieved in 2018 includes building partnerships and linkages development within and outside Caritas Confederation to compliment Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strengthened our mission to safeguard the dignity of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities. PEACH project continued to build capacity of our staff, volunteers and diocesan units. The flood response major inputs by Caritas Pakistan was emergency medical care through medical camps and distribution of food and non-food items along with hygiene kits to the victims of flood. The disaster preparedness was also focused to improve future resilience of the communities through formation, capacity building and sustainability of the Disaster Management Committees (DMCs). We organized the fourth batch of National Community Development Course (NCDC) under Caritas Research and Training Centre (CRTC). A diverse group of participants included Catholic Priests, Pastors from Salvation Army, professionals along with students and teachers were graduated. I am happy to share that we planted almost 700,000 trees on different locations in 2018. The overall concept of SAFBIN is around empowering the smallholder communities to maximize the use of available resources in an efficient and effective manner.
Year 2019 was significant due to the strategic planning process that enabled us to set new targets and goals for 2020-2023. Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change was exposed, as we witnessed drought, floods and earthquake emergencies in 2019. The remarkable achievement of One Million Tree Plantation was made possible with the contribution of volunteers, Diocesan Units and other institutions. I humbly acknowledge the keen interest shown by Catholic Bishop Conference in promoting the message of Laudato Si and helping us to launch One Million More Tree Plantation Campaign that will proceed from 2020-2023). To educate and empower the school dropouts and child laborers, launching of “Caritas Initiative for Education Promotion” (CIEP), has made foundation to help working children from poor families in getting basic education through multi-grade and joyful learning system.
The year 2020 started as a normal year with planning and orientation meetings until the corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak. Nobody was ready for this outbreak. Pakistan government has announced it would be lifting most of its corona virus (COVID-19) restrictions after seeing cases drop for several weeks. Together with diocesan units, Caritas Pakistan helped the affected during double emergency of heavy monsoon rains and Covid-19. We had tried to orient all our programs and interventions keeping the pandemic in mind. The safety of our staff was ensured by adopting the work from home policy. Caritas Pakistan lauds the efforts of volunteers and staff risking their lives to serve the needy and protect the communities from the virus. Caritas Pakistan responded to the situation by focusing on major components in initial response including Food Packages/Ration Support, Hygiene and Safety Kits to vulnerable groups/individuals, Awareness raising and information sharing for preventive measures. Psycho Social Care and trauma counseling initiatives and Youth Engagement for Volunteer support for different activities.
Year 2021, gave us a great pride that amid the fear of COVID-19, we were able to continue our services through working from home, and despite logistical challenges. We focused on volunteer engagements, building associations and linkages with confederation members, local and international community to promptness the service and reached out to maximum number of people. The whole of Caritas family managed through working from home efficiently throughout different phases of the Covid-19 crisis. Our Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Program built capacities and enhanced resilience among disaster prone communities. Our WASH program aimed at improving the living conditions of people concerning Water Sanitation and Hygiene. Climate change is also addressed through our one million more tree plantation campaign that is the second phase of our successful tree plantation campaign. We have propelled our efforts for the disadvantaged children to get education through non-formal education centers under Caritas Initiative for Education (CIEP) program who were brick kiln laborers or domestic workers. Moreover events for children and youth, annual youth camp, children assembly, diocesan festivals and sports gala were organized at national level including the annual convention for staff and volunteers to acknowledge their efforts.
In 2022, torrential rains and a combination of riverine, urban, and flash flooding led to an unprecedented disaster in Pakistan. At the height of the flooding, one-third of the country was under water, 33 million people were affected, and nearly 8 million people reportedly displaced. The floods took the lives of more than 1,700 people, one-third of were children. More than half of all the districts in the country were declared as “calamity-hit” with the majority of those affected located in the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Caritas Pakistan launched EA23/2022 Rapid Response Appeal through Caritas Internationalis on July 26, 2022 to provide the immediate relief to Flood affected households in Pakistan, to provide sufficient food, safe drinking water, and health services, improve their living conditions and to have access to hygiene supplies. I am pleased to announce for the promotion of health facilities, we had inaugurated health center in KPK province and also launched new initiative of E-commerce for empowering women. This year the services of Caritas to the community recapitulated all the projects, programs and capacity building trainings involves SAFBIN (Smallholder Adaptive Farming & Biodiversity Network) program launching at Diocesan level, tree plantation activities, 7th NCDC batch (National Community Development Course), 9th Annual youth conference.
To this end, the members of Caritas Pakistan have served professionally and willingly, guided by the Governance structure under the influence of catholic social teaching for positive change in the society. Taking this opportunity I would like to thank Pakistan Catholic Bishop Conference, Archbishop Benny Travas Chairman of Caritas Pakistan, General Body members, Executive Board members, Diocesan Executive Secretaries and staff for their support and cooperation for assisting the needy throughout the country.
I would like to pay special acknowledgment on behalf of Caritas Pakistan to Caritas Internationlis and Confederation members for their support and cooperation. All who had been associated with Caritas Pakistan during last 50 years throughout the country in any capacity deserve special appreciation on the occasion of golden jubilee.
On this occasion, we also remember and pay tribute to all those who have been passed away and served Caritas Pakistan in different capacities over the past 50 years.
Let’s pray to God to give more strength and courage to all of us to be more vibrant in the decades ahead.
God bless Caritas Pakistan and team for good work and commitment.