Project Compassion Week 6: Caritas work creates leaders of tomorrow

07 Apr 2022

By The Record

One of the nation’s longest running charity campaigns Project Compassion looks at the story of Thandolwayo from Zimbabwe, Halima from Bangladesh, Shirley from the Philippines. Thanks to Caritas, they have gained access to life’s basic needs, and are able to contribute to their community. Video: Caritas Australia.

For more than half a century, generations of Australians have participated in Project Compassion.

The initiative has raised millions since it began in 1965, making it one of the nation’s longest running charity campaigns.  

Over the years, people all over Australia have learned about the people who have been featured in Project Compassion and seen the impact that their generosity has had in their lives.   

Caritas Australia’s partner Caritas Hwange helped the community to install two solar-powered pumps and two 10,000 litre water storage tanks to help Thandolwayo who risks being attacked by crocodiles, while she goes to collect clean water for her family every day. Photo: Richard Wainwright.

This year Caritas Australia celebrates the achievements of Thandolwayo from Zimbabwe, Halima in Bangladesh, and Shirley in the Philippines.  

Thandolwayo lived with her grandparents in Zimbabwe. Every morning she would walk seven kilometres, and risk being attacked by crocodiles, to collect clean water for her family. Her dreams of studying to become a nurse seemed almost impossible.  

Caritas Australia’s partner, Caritas Hwange, helped the community to install two solar-powered pumps and two 10,000 litre water storage tanks.

Now 14-years-old, Thandolwayo lives with her aunt during the term and visits her grandmother in the school holidays. Although schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thandolowayo is excelling at school, particularly in English and Maths.

Caritas Australia, through its partner, Caritas Bangladesh, provided Halima with shelter and cooking equipment back in 2021. Halima is earning an income from her training role which enables her family to be more independent, especially during pandemic times. Photo: Richard Wainwright.

For Halima, a Rohingya refugee living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, the past year since she featured in Project Compassion 2021 has been particularly tough. She is caring for her two young children in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, as well as for her mother who has a disability.

Caritas Australia, through its partner, Caritas Bangladesh, provided Halima with shelter and cooking equipment. She also participated in a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program before becoming a community trainer herself – skills that became more invaluable when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Halima is earning an income from her training role which enables her family to be more independent.

2020 Project Compassion recipient Shirley has been able to lead her community through the COVID-19 pandemic in the remote Camarines Norte province. Photo: Richard Wainwright.

Meanwhile, Shirley, a Manide indigenous health worker in the Philippines who featured in Project Compassion 2020, has been able to lead her community through the COVID-19 pandemic in the remote Camarines Norte province.   

A mother of four children under 17, Shirley was struggling to support her family on her own, as her husband was unwell.  

Through Caritas Australia’s local partner, the Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation of Daet, Inc. (SPACFI), Shirley trained to become an indigenous health worker and learnt to supplement her income by growing vegetables.

Please help support people like Thandolwayo, Halima and Shirley and make a difference to the lives of the most marginalised and vulnerable members of society. 

To donate to Project Compassion, visit Caritas Australia’s website: lent.caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413.  

This year, Caritas Australia is also encouraging supporters to run their own fundraising events. Learn more at fundraise.projectcompassion.org.au/  

Caritas Australia is a member of Caritas Internationalis, one of the world’s largest humanitarian networks in the world with 162 agencies operating in 200 countries and territories.