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Students and Supporters across Australia act with Compassion


Caritas supporters stand with Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB at the launch of the 2015 Caritas Australia Project Compassion appeal at
St Mary’s Cathedral on 15 February. PHOTO: Caritas

Hundreds of Catholic schools in every state and region in Australia, along with thousands of parishioners and supporters across Australia, have dug deep to raise money for Project Compassion 2015, one of Australia’s largest humanitarian campaigns.

Last year, the appeal raised nearly $11 million for Caritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency.

Head of Community Engagement for Caritas, Helen Forde, said the generosity of schools, parishes and supporters, coupled with innovative fundraising ideas during Project Compassion, has been inspiring.

“Money raised during Project Compassion will transform the lives of many of the most marginalised globally, enabling Caritas Australia to work alongside communities over the long-term in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and with First Australians,” Ms Forde said.

“Each year, I am amazed and humbled by the energy, enthusiasm and creative efforts of thousands of students across Australia, from Victoria to the Northern Territory, Canberra to rural WA and beyond, who work tirelessly in their fundraising efforts for the most marginalised around the world.”

In Port Pirie, South Australia, Year 8 student, Leo experienced firsthand what it would be like to live in poverty. For the duration of Lent, he spent just $10 a week on food and drink to be in solidarity with children, women and men living in poverty.

Leo raised more than $1,000 for Project Compassion which could provide a five-day training course for 10 to 15 people, so they can learn to raise and sell fish in Nepal.

“Over the first and second week, I had learned what ‘hungry’ really means,” said Leo.

“It isn’t that you just ate and you want more food. It is that you haven’t eaten in a while. I lived on less than $2 a day for five days a week, excluding the weekends. I was lucky I got the weekends off because the poor live in poverty every single day and hour.”

At St Munchin’s Catholic Primary School in Gosnells, Perth, families and staff raised more than $2,000 with a book sale, cake stall and car wash.

The car wash required students to undergo special training so they could meticulously wash and dry each car to a professional standard.

“I was amazed and encouraged by the enthusiasm of the students and staff with their numerous fundraising efforts. Their parents also got involved with a number assisting with the Year 5 car wash,” said Diocesan Co-ordinator Sr Janet Palafox.

St Aloysius Catholic College in southern Tasmania was a sea of purple, as students and staff raised more than $1,600 for Project Compassion during a “Purple Day for Peace” which featured purple nail polish, purple hair spray and even a purple treats stall as ways for students to dig deep and donate for those most marginalized, while fundraising efforts at St Joachim’s Catholic Primary School in Holland Park, Queensland, raised more than $4,600.

Their fundraising efforts, organised by Acting APRE Kathryn Lambkin and Assistant Principal Amanda Sheridan, included a “Walk for Water” event, and a Rice Day, encouraging students to eat a small cup of rice in solidarity with the poor, as well as a secondhand toy and book stall.

The finale was a “sliming” of the Assistant Principal with a bucket of cornflour and water.

“It was cold and wet, but well worth it and not bad for a school of 337 children with extremely generous families,” Ms Sheridan said.

You can donate to Project Compassion by 30 June online or by phoning 1800 024 413.