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HISTORY OF CARITAS PAKISTAN
Caritas comes from Latin word meaning “Love” and “Charity”. The first Caritas organization was started in 1897 in Freiburg, Germany. Other national Caritas organizations were soon formed in Switzerland (1901) and the United States (Catholic Charities, 1910).The necessity of working together became apparent. In July 1924, during the Eucharistic World Congress in Amsterdam, 60 delegates from 22 countries formed a conference, with headquarters at Caritas Switzerland in Lucerne. In 1928, the conference became known as Caritas Catholica.
The delegates met every two years until the outbreak of the Second World War when all activities came to a standstill. Work resumed in 1947 with the approval of the Secretariat of State, and two conferences convened in Lucerne to help coordinate efforts and collaboration. Caritas was given a further endorsement when the Secretariat of State entrusted it with the official representation of all welfare organizations at the international level, especially at the United Nations.
The Holy Year in 1950 saw the beginning of a union of Caritas organizations. Following a suggestion by Msgr. Montini, then Substitute Secretary of State, and later Pope Paul VI, a study week, with participants from 22 countries, was held in Rome to examine the problems of Christian work. As a result, the decision was made to set up an international conference of Catholic charities.
In December 1951, upon approval of the statutes by the Holy See, the first constitutive General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis took place. Founding members came from Caritas organizations in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.
In 1957, the Confederation changed its name to Caritas Internationalis to reflect the growing international presence of Caritas members on every continent. Today, the Confederation is one of the world’s largest humanitarian networks with 165 members working in 200 countries and territories globally.
HISTORY OF CARITAS PAKISTAN
Caritas Pakistan was created at the closing mass of Vatican II. A donation was made by Pope Paul VI to Cardinal Joseph Cordeiro to set up a National Secretariat in Pakistan.
Caritas Pakistan National Secretariat was established in Lahore and; Fr. L J Saldanha was appointed as first General Secretary.
Most Rev. Marcel Roger, Bishop of Lahore was appointed as its first National Director.
Agriculture Seminar was held which facilitated in conducting a survey of Catholic villages and colonies in Pakistan.
The main assistance of Caritas Pakistan began towards the emergency relief to rain, cyclone and flood affected people and also to the refugees of the Indian occupied areas after the war
Bishop Paul Andreoti was appointed as the National Director of Caritas Pakistan. Bishop Paul Andreotti of Faisalabad, the second National Director, braved the emergency of 1973 disastrous floods which affected all the dioceses of Pakistan especially Lahore Archdiocese. After hectic activity in administering initial relief measures /efforts, however restricted by financial and material resources, were made in order to rehabilitate the marginalized affectees.
Caritas Pakistan helped build houses for Bihars from former East Pakistan now Bangladesh. In August 1973 Caritas Pakistan had a massive flood emergency relief program. Inter Aid Committee was formed consisting of all ecumenical churches to coordinate flood relief. Resources of Caritas Pakistan and others were pooled and shared.
Mr. Augustin Lewis was appointed as the Executive Secretary and the treasure of the Caritas Pakistan. In November 1974, a seminar was held at Pastoral Institute, Multan on “Liberation through Development. The bishops were also present at the seminar, Fr. Charles Grange represented CI (Caritas Internationalis) and Fr. Edwin Gordign represented Misereor. This seminar was a turning point of Caritas Pakistan and concrete recommendations were presented and as a result, there emerged a very strong and active National Secretariat.
Most Rev. Bishop Paul Andreoti resigned and Most Rev. Bishop Bonaventure Paul took over as National Director.
The constitution was approved and adopted by the General Body of Caritas Pakistan. The aims and objectives had a very clear and definite shape. The main thrust was towards awareness and leadership training with a special emphasis on community building and self- resilience. Caritas Pakistan holds its first General Assembly in Chak (village) 424/JB Faisalabad diocese. SALT (Social Awareness & Leadership Training) program was approved and Mr. Harish Massey was appointed SALT team head. The Office of Caritas Pakistan was set up in Lahore with Mr. Lewis as full time National Executive Secretary. The first road from farm to the market was built by Fr. Bonnie Mendes, the Diocesan Director of Caritas Pakistan Faisalabad, in Chak 424/JB (Faisalabad diocese).
Mr. Lewis resigned and Fr. James Archangelus took over as the Deputy National Director, General Secretary and also as the Treasure.
Rev. Fr. James bought the land for the construction of the National Secretariat building. As a result of review of the activities in past years, Caritas Pakistan decided to concentrate on forms of social education among people that would liberate them from sub- human existence. Social Awareness and Leadership Training (SALT) program was thus initiated to train people in all dioceses in 1979.
Fr. James Archagelus resigned and at the same time autonomy was granted to the dioceses.
Misereor approved a National Salt (Social Awareness & Leadership Training) team to function for five years.
Most Rev. Bishop Bonaventure Paul resigned and Most Rev. Bishop Patras Yousaf was appointed as the National Director of Caritas Pakistan. Mr. Harish Massey took over as the National Executive Secretary of Caritas Pakistan. Bishop Patras Yusaf took over as the National Director of Caritas Pakistan and stressed very much on the idea of animation and development. Caritas Pakistan launched Animation & development Program in the six dioceses.
Caritas Pakistan started its Integrated Human Development (Animation and Development) in 1988, and first Animators Training Program was conducted. The Bishop’s Conference of Pakistan, clergy and the people appreciated the program and animation teams in their midst. The construction of the National Secretariat building started. Widespread Rains and Floods pelted all over the Punjab, and Caritas Pakistan actively participated in relief and rehabilitation program.
The new building of Caritas Pakistan-National Office was erected and blessed by Bishop Patras Yousuf on the 23rd March.Caritas Pakistan started the Volunteers Training Program (TP) On December, Caritas Pakistan commenced its Silver Jubilee Celebration.
Frontier Province (now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) was hit by an Earthquake February 1stCaritas along with Pakistan Red Crescent Society took part in relief and rehabilitation program. Second Animation Training Program was conducted. A seminar was organized “Caritas and Development” for the clarity of the concepts of development. This seminar was conducted in 1991 as an extension of the 1974 seminar Liberation through Development. The attendants of Caritas and Development seminar discussed more aspects of development within Caritas network and its target outreach unities. The focus was on traditional and cultural resource available for field workers to enhance the effectiveness of their work within target communities. The participants’ discussion was based on how political awareness changed Pakistan’s stagnant flow of development and how Caritas workers could use the trends at that time to create vital awareness. They agreed on the necessity to animate people so that they themselves should demand their rights from the government. First National Health workshop was conducted, as a follow up it was decided to hold such workshop in each diocese. Under the Chairmanship of Bishop Patras Yousuf the National Health Commissioner was created at Lahore.
Ten steps of Animation were developed and adopted at grass root level for social mobilization. The ingredients for the “ten Steps of Animation” formula has been a direct result of Animators experiences in communities and professional training.
1st Strategic Planning process was initiated involving grass root people.
Caritas Pakistan staff convention was organized
2nd Strategic Planning of Caritas Pakistan was conducted and Caritas Pakistan provided relief and Rehabilitation to Afghan Refugees.
A six month season (Jul-Dec 2003) long ICM / IPM training program was organized for volunteers, animators and agriculture coordinators. It is the longest training in the history of Caritas Pakistan
3rd Strategic Planning of Caritas Pakistan was held and Caritas Pakistan facilitated in repatriation of 3154 Afghan Refugee families.
The revised constitution of Caritas Pakistan was approved by the General Body. Caritas Pakistan responded to the massive 8thOctober earthquake.
Caritas Pakistan responded the cyclone affected people in Cyclone Yemen which was a deadly tropical cyclone that made landfalls on India and Pakistan in June 2007.
4th Strategic Planning of Caritas Pakistan was held. Caritas Pakistan responded to Earthquake in Ziarat Baluchistan.
Caritas Pakistan responded for relief and rehabilitation of Swat IDPs crisis
Caritas Pakistan responded to the massive Floods in 2010 considered as worst floods in the history of Pakistan which inundated almost one third of the Pakistan.
Mr. Amjad Gulzar joined as Executive Director of Caritas Pakistan National Secretariat. Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Mr. Michel Roy visited Caritas Pakistan and inaugurated a book “Restoring Dignity” of Caritas Flood Response. Caritas Pakistan was awarded with appreciation shield from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for humanitarian work. Archbishop Joseph Coutts Chairman Caritas Pakistanhanded over a cheque of one million PKR to NDMA for relief work in Pakistan.
5th Strategic Planning of Caritas Pakistan was held. Disaster Risk Reduction integrated with Community Based Disaster Risk Management. Caritas Pakistan collaborated with UNESCO to implement school safety interventions. 25 staff members of diocesan units were provided with opportunity for international training on “Community Based Disaster Preparedness” in Bangkok by Caritas Asia.
Caritas Pakistan responded to earthquakes in Mashkel and Awaran in Baluchistan. Convention of Caritas Pakistan Staff was organized with theme “Together We Proceed”. Caritas Pakistan responded to country wide floods in Pakistan. Provided support to victims of Joseph Colony Carnage in Lahore. Following the request of Caritas Cambodia, Caritas Pakistan provided training on Search & Rescue and First Aid to Caritas Cambodia staff and National Committee on Disaster Management (NCDM) in August 2015. Caritas Pakistan reviewed the drought situation in Tharparkar and Cholistan.
Caritas Pakistan responded to Floods of Pakistan in four Dioceses of Pakistan. Caritas Pakistan organized International Training on Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction with participants from other Asian countries as well. Caritas received ISO 9002-2008 certification on Quality Management Standards. Caritas Pakistan responded to IDPs crisis of North Waziristan. First Annual Children Festival started in 2014. The First Women Farmer Conference was held from October 22 to 24 at Sargodha Institute of Technology.
Mr. Amjad Gulzar Caritas Pakistan elected as member of Caritas Asia Regional Commission. Caritas Pakistan elected as member of Caritas Internationalis Representative Council (RepCo). 6th Caritas Pakistan Strategic Planning was held. Operational guidelines of Caritas Pakistan were reviewed and revised in line with national and International Standards. Caritas Pakistan celebrated Golden Jubilee year and the main event was held on September 14-18, 2015 at Renewal Centre Lahore. Rapid response to earthquake affected communities
Rehabilitation interventions including WASH, shelter in Swat 2016. One million tree plantation campaign 2016-2019 launched. Annual staff and volunteer’s convention (2016-2021). Women Conference as an annual event started in 2016. Organized one-month National Community Development Course every year from 2016. European Asia partnership for building capacity in humanitarian action (PEACH) 2016-2019
Relief and rehabilitation activities to flood affected households in 2017.
Volunteer Management system launched in Pakistan 2018. SAFBIN project lunched
Completion of One Million Tree Plantation Campaign (2016-2019). Launch of Caritas Initiative for Education Promotion (CIEP). Consultations for Strategic Planning (2020 to 2023). Launch of One Million More Tree Plantation Campaign (2020-2023) during Staff Annual Convention 2019.
Strengthening Community Resilience against frequent disasters 129/2020. SAFBIN Program for small farmers. Water and Sanitation Hygiene Program.
Afghan Refugees EA/20-2021. Relief provided to drought affected communities 2021. SAFBIN Program for small farmers.
Water and Sanitation Hygiene Program. Eviction in Karachi. CEIP Program for disadvantaged children
Relief & Response provided to flood affected communities after Catastrophic floods countrywide. Launched EA-23 for flood affected people.