By President of Caritas Africa, Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala, Uganda.
“Jesus Christ does not teach us a spirituality ‘of closed eyes,’ but one of ‘alertness,’ one which entails an absolute duty to take notice of the needs of others and of situations involving those whom the Gospel tells us are our neighbours…. The gaze of Jesus, what ‘his eyes’ teach us, leads to human closeness, solidarity, giving time, sharing our gifts and even our material goods.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Promoting Volunteerism, Vienna, Austria, September 10, 2007
Caritas Africa has much pleasure in providing you, in this single publication, information about the 45 National Caritas organisations, south of the Sahara, that are part of the Africa region of Caritas Internationalis, a Confederation of 164 members all over the world.
In order to fulfill the vision of Caritas Africa, which is to have life in its fullness (John 10:10), we consider that our mission is to bear witness to the Love of God (Acts 1:8) by working for the integral development of the human being with priority attention to the poor and the most destitute. Africa is daily confronted with enormous challenges and very large segments of the populations of many countries in Africa are suffering from conflicts, social unrest, wars as well as from natural disasters and calamities such as drought, floods and cyclones. Diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and others that are less publicised, are also causing a lot of difficulties to individuals and families.
In every country, Caritas is present to address these many issues and bring relief to the most vulnerable members of society. The role of Caritas however is not only to intervene in situations of emergency and to provide assistance. Its role goes far beyond that stage. It is called upon to contribute to the integral development of individuals. This combined mission of Caritas is often misunderstood but is well put into practice in Africa.
A quick glance overleaf at the work done by Caritas organisations in Africa shows clearly the broad spectrum of all the activities that take place in each and every country. Empowerment of communities, education and training for development in rural areas, health care, environmental stewardship, capacity building to sustain development, life skills management training, governance training, psycho-social counselling are some of the activities that are common to many Caritas organisations in Africa. As such, they contribute fully to peace building, to reconciliation and to the enhancement of social justice in their respective countries.
The work of many National Caritas organisations in Africa is supported by Caritas partners from developed countries from other regions of the world. This most effective partnership is highly commendable. As a Confederation, we share common values and principles. We respect the dignity of human beings, we believe in solidarity and sharing, we are dedicated to service, and we are convinced that subsidiarity is the key to harmonious cooperation between partners.
May the combined work of all the Caritas organisations in the world and in Africa in particular contribute most effectively to Reconciliation, Peace and Justice so that every human being may enjoy life in its fullness.