This year in the 50th year of Project Compassion, we celebrate learning and Caritas’ work with local partners to ensure all children, women and men can harness the power of education, training and shared knowledge.
Please join us to hear how strong partnerships between the Australian and Malawian communities are transforming lives and bringing hope.


Martin Mazinga is the National Programmes Coordinator of the Catholic Development Commission in Malawi. Martin and his team at CADECOM are responsible for sustainable development opportunities for the most marginalised communities in Malawi. Martin is passionate about working with grassroots communities.

Thursday 11th February at 7.30 p.m.

St Joseph’s Parish Hall
49 Stanhope Street Malvern
RSVP Alicia Ocampo at or 9926 5706



The Theme for Project Compassion 2015 is “Food for Life”.

Food is essential for all life, yet many of the world’s poorest people do not have food security. That means they live from day-to-day, uncertain of how to afford or how to access their next meal. Without food, the rest of life is impossible to contemplate: how can you plan for the future or educate your children when you fear you will be hungry?

As Pope Francis says: “It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous.”

Project Compassion 2015 explores how Caritas Australia is helping the world’s poorest people establish sustainable food, walking with them as they free themselves from the burden of food insecurity and develop new, improved income streams for a better future.


Thanks to all the generous parishioners who contributed to Project Compassion this year. An amazing total of $3247.75 has been sent to Caritas Australia to support the important work they do. Supporting communities in developing countries is some of the important work Caritas does throughout the world. Thank you for your kind support.



Nirangini, 31, remembers her childhood fondly, growing up in a family of nine siblings during peacetime in Veravil, a small fishing village in Sri Lanka.
From 1983 to 2009 a civil war affected Sri Lanka. When the conflict impacted Veravil, the entire community was forced
to leave. Nirangini, her 67-year-old mother and her son who was seven-years-old at the time were constantly on the move with no permanent home.
During those years, poverty and the trauma of constantly being on the move took a toll. There was little food or water and Nirangini’s son became undernourished.
In December 2009, in the hope that a familiar environment would offer a safe setting for her son, Nirangini and her family moved back to her childhood village. In Veravil, a Caritas Sri Lanka program, supported by Caritas Australia, was assisting families to resettle.



In March 2012, the Caritas program supported Nirangini to build her own permanent home.
“We had survived a war and just managed to return to our home with virtually nothing. Now with the support of Caritas my family lives in a proper house. I am so relieved. The state of uncertainty we were living in is now over.”
Thanks to a livelihood grant, Nirangini was able to start a home garden and small poultry business. These give her a good income and provide her family with nutritious food.
A permanent home and an income source are also beneficial as it means her son can attend the village school and gain a good education.
“We are very thankful … We now have the confidence to stand on our feet and look after ourselves.”
Your support for Project Compassion allows Caritas Australia to lift the voices of the poor and promote the dignity of each person, regardless of ethnicity, religion or cultural beliefs.


Pintupi woman, Lorraine, grew up in Papunya, 300km west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Six years ago, after being diagnosed with kidney failure, Lorraine, 39, learnt that she had to undergo a lifetime of weekly dialysis treatment.
Deeply connected to culture, her mob and their dreaming, she is now living in a hostel in Alice Springs to receive treatment and desperately misses home. “I have to sleep indoors all the time. Someone cooks our food and cleans our rooms. I have no family here. I stick to myself. I am homesick.”
To keep her spirit alive, Lorraine visits The Purple House which was established in 2004 by Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation to support First Australian patients who have been dislocated from country and culture.


Caritas Australia is supporting a new income-generating social enterprise at the Centre – making and selling bush balms.
“My favourite balm is Irremenke Irremenke. It is a good bush medicine that our grandmothers used to make. It is good for pain and headaches. It is a cheeky plant, it is hard to find and hard to grow. I love the smell of the bush balm mix boiling up. It reminds me of home,” said Lorraine.
This bush balm program offers people aged 23-75 who are chronically unwell, a sense of purpose, comfort and wellbeing. It gives them the opportunity to pass on traditional knowledge and values, ensuring participants retain their connections with home.
Until the doctors say that Lorraine is palya (good) and she is able to receive local treatment, The Purple House and the bush balm program is her home away from home.
Your support for Project Compassion helps Caritas Australia work towards the creation of a world that God desires to be just and compassionate.


Martina is a teacher in the Solomon Islands. Her favourite part of the school day is teaching the children songs from Caritas Australia’s Disaster Risk Management project.
Using well-known tunes and simple lyrics, children learn what to do in the event of potential disasters that face the Solomon Islands such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis.
“Nursery rhymes break down the fear associated with natural disasters, and also help children memorise the rhymes and the emergency response,” said Martina. “They enjoy the singing.”
Martina’s school in Ngossi is in a region, much like many in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, that is prone to all manner of natural disasters. It’s very important for the young children to learn strategies to be safe during disasters and emergencies.


 “Our homes are under threat. We have the cyclone season that runs from November to March annually, so this type of disaster is a big risk,” said Martina.
Adam Elliott, Caritas Australia’s Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Program Manager, said disasters often occur early in the morning when the children are at school.
“The children take this disaster risk management to their homes,” said Adam. “They sing songs and talk about what the songs have taught them.
“They have really taken it and made it their own, writing the songs in their local languages.”
The project is currently running in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Due to its success and interest across the South Pacific, Caritas Australia is planning to extend the program’s reach to other countries.
“This season we’re better prepared and know how to respond, and in an emergency this can make all the difference,” said Martina.
Your support for Project Compassion allows Caritas Australia to build a just world by enabling vulnerable communities to be architects of their own future.


For most of Archie’s life, he lived with his parents and nine siblings in a one-roomed house beside the Plaridel River in the province of Bulacan, an area prone to flooding and typhoons.
“Our roof had holes in it. So when it rained, it was like we were having a shower,” he said as he explained that whenever strong rains hit, the houses had to be evacuated for higher ground.
Now 19, Archie experienced severe flooding three times, including September 2009’s Super Typhoon Ondoy.

“After this typhoon, our house looked like it had been torn apart by a wild beast. Mud covered every wall and corner, the plywood walls were dismantled, the roof was gone and the posts were bent.”
In August 2012, an emergency resettlement program supported by Caritas Australia helped Archie and his family resettle into permanent and secure housing away from the flood prone river.
“We are now confident and secure in the knowledge that we will not be devastated again by natural disaster,” said Archie. “We are so much happier.”
Through the program, Archie’s mum learnt to make bags and he learnt to make candles which they sell to earn an income. But, as he left school halfway through his first year to assist his family, what he’s most excited about is studying under Caritas Australia’s Alternative Learning System and increasing his future prospects.
“Caritas Australia has changed our lives. We are so thankful and happy that we are living in a safe community. We have confidence because we feel secure and supported. The Caritas Australia program has increased our sense of pride and self-esteem.”
Your donation to Project Compassion means vulnerable people can live in safe, supportive communities and have hope for the future.


Deng, 50, grew up with his family in Barmayen village, South Sudan.
“I never attended school. Every day I would take the goats out to the bush with the other boys for grazing,” he said.
When Deng was six, he became very ill and with no medical facilities available, fell into a coma. After regaining consciousness, he awoke to find his right side partially paralysed. Not letting this deter him, he happily returned to the peaceful life he knew and loved.
In 1983 when civil war broke out and everything changed. Frightened and taken by surprise, Deng, his family and other villagers fled for the bush, leaving their homes, crops and livestock behind.
“We were unable to be in our village, life was unbearable and all the time we kept hiding from the militia in the bush … We were always on the move.”
Over the course of time, Deng and his wife, Aketch, 38, had eight children, but three passed away. Later on, Deng’s eyes became infected. As the head of the household, he was responsible for providing for his family. Losing his eyesight meant he could not do this anymore.
In 2005, the civil war ended and they were able to move back home. To assist with resettling, Caritas Australia’s partner, Hope Agency for Relief and Development (HARD) established a food security and rehabilitation program.
Deng and Aketch received two goats, five chickens, fishing nets and a selection of seeds to plant. They are now confident of a more secure future and are happy their children can attend school.
“Thank you very much and God bless you abundantly.”
Your donation to Project Compassion helps Caritas Australia pursue justice and assist those who are the most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice.



Maristely, 18, lives in a favela (slum) in São Paulo, Brazil with her family.
Dark and cramped, favelas are groups of irregular, self-constructed houses often built on land that no one wants to live on due to threats of floods, landslides, or their proximity to roads and train lines. Many locals face daily discrimination from the wider community.
When Maristely was growing up, her family’s house, like many others, was made of cardboard and had no electricity, water or connected sewerage.
Caritas Australia’s partner, the Movement for the Defence of Favela Residents (MDF), is changing lives across 40 favelas in São Paulo. MDF understands the difficulties of favela life such as dense population, limited space, a lack of available jobs, constant threat of eviction and widespread poverty.  
Through MDF, Maristely’s family, along with thousands of others, now has access to clean water, electricity and connected sewerage. They also have a certificate of home ownership which provides greater security and means they can no longer be evicted.
Across the favelas, up to 70 percent of families experience violence in the home, and there is a dominant gang culture. This culture of violence is closely linked to a lack of self-esteem. MDF attendees participate in sessions which address their identity, favela history, and issues around drugs, gangs, violence and unemployment.
The program promotes peace so young people can attain education and employment, rather than joining local gangs.
“Being a part of MDF has given me awareness of my dignity … I know that to live in a favela is nothing to be ashamed of … Because of my perseverance, I live in a better place and we are recognised for that,” said Maristely.
Your donation to Project Compassion is helping Caritas Australia end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity.