Caritas India Celebrates its Golden Jubilee

Fr. Anand Muttungal, Bhopal

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Bhopal : 6/03/2012: Catholic Church’ s main NGO Caritas India concludes its state level golden Jubilee Celebrations at Pastoral Centre,Bhopal. Catholic Church runs around around 40 NGOs in Madhya Pradesh. The programmes started with invoking God’s blessings and lighting of the lamp. It also presented a short documentary film on the works of Caritas India (CI). It depicted the works that are carried out by the organization.

                The presentation was viewed by Chief Guest Minister Incharge of Minority Welfare, Shri Ajay Vishnoi, Archbishop Dr.Leo Cornelio, Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio, Bishop Gerald Almeida, Bishop Cacko Thottumarickal, Bishop Antony Chirayath and nearly 150 delegates of various development organisations of Madhya Pradesh. Fr. Frederick D’souza, executive director designate, presented the profile of Caritas India during the function and detailed on its achievements. Caritas is working in the fields of women empowerment, socio-politicla and economical empowerment, agriculture, good governance, Pachayath Raj, environment  etc.

                “The life you live will depend on the light you fill in it” Shri Ajay Vishnoi, Honorable Minister for Backward and Minority Welfare, Fisheries, New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, said this while speaking on the Golden Jubilee celebration of CaritasIndia held at Pastoral Centre, Bhopal today. Ajay Vishnoi further said Caritas India has lived a life of dedication and service in the last fifty years and served the poor with exemplary commitment. He further said that development needs of the poor are numerous and no single NGO can solve all these challenges single-handedly. “Development sector is like an ocean, where every welfare agency makes its own contribution and society achieves welfare objectives with these individual contributions”, he added. Mr. Ajay Vishnoi congratulated Caritas India for completing 50 successful years of national service and lauded its services to the welfare of the needy of the country in general and Madhya Pradesh in particular.

                Caritas India, the official development arm of Catholic Church in India, is a national level development and relief service organisation. Caritas India works with over 300 partner organisations in all states of the country. Caritas India, founded in 1962, has so far implemented 22551 projects and spent over Rs. 1400 crores on various programmes related to disaster relief, community development, livelihood promotion, natural resource management and women empowerment.

                Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio, archbishop of Bhopal was the chairperson of the function. Dr. Cornelio in his address observed that the country is in need of committed and inspired NGOs in view of the ever increasing number of poor. He expressed his concern over the increasing number of the poor despite the sharp industrial growth that India has consistently achieved in the recent past. He appreciated Caritas India and its partners for selflessly working in the interest of the poor and thus translating the Christian values into social action.

                Fr. Fredderick D’souza spoke about Caritas India programme priorities and reiterated Caritas India’s commitment to work for the poor and the marginalised and their socio-political and economic empowerment. He also informed the gathering that Caritas India had constructed 14,000 permanent houses for the Tsunami affected communities, 12,000 houses for Gujarat quake victims and provided relief to the affected people of all big natural calamities that have struck the country. He said that Caritas India has helped raise over two lakh community based organisations which have helped communities to assert their rights at political, economic and social realms.

                The golden jubilee celebration also featured experience sharing by beneficiary community members, cultural programmes and felicitation. Mr. Saju MK, the State Head of the Caritas India who proposed the vote of thanks said, We have run around 360 schemes in M.P, at present 15 programmes are running, 3.5 lakhs of families have benefited through our programmes, we are working through 1130 self help groups, they have a saving of around six crores, from these groups 1172 persons are elected to the local bodies and 90% of these people are from women folks.

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