Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answers to key questions that people often ask us.
Our name translates from the Latin as ‘love in action’. We make a real difference in the lives of people living with poverty and injustice through our partnerships with those in need, or on behalf of them.
Advocacy is speaking out for those who cannot speak out, to create change and make the world a more just place. It includes carrying out research, raising public awareness, making submissions and writing letters to governments, companies and international organisations.
We work in New Zealand advocating against poverty and injustice on issues including appropriate climate change financing for the most vulnerable, family poverty and sub-standard housing, fairness for beneficiaries, and workers' rights. Caritas also advocates against injustice internationally, such as supporting human rights in West Papua.
Caritas works in New Zealand schools helping teachers and students consider social justice issues, peace and development.
Around the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand, we support humanitarian aid in response to emergencies such as earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, famine and conflict. Through our overseas partners we help provide crucial items like food, water, tents, blankets and counselling.
Our overseas development programmes help the most vulnerable people improve their lives and livelihoods. We support programmes focused on sustainable farming and food production, health, education and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
We help teachers and students to consider the challenges posed by social justice, peace and development issues. We do this through visits, presentations, introducing visiting speakers, creating resources for Lent and Social Justice Week lessons and assemblies, and publishing advocacy articles. We are grateful for the fundraising efforts from schools, which support our overseas projects in partnership with other Caritas organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs). Each year we run Justic Leaderships Days for senior secondary school students and the Caritas Challenge for students of all ages and youth groups.
Caritas provides help to anyone in need, regardless of faith. In our development and justice work, we also work with anyone who is looking for peaceful ways to live with all creation and overcome poverty. In our advocacy work we provide a voice for all those in need, and add our voice to other advocates where we have common ground.
We have made statements or done research on: environmental justice and climate change; refugees and migrants; family poverty; workers rights; overseas aid; housing and the welfare system in New Zealand; West Papua; and cultural diversity. Check out our newsroom page for our most recent statements.
The funds for our work come from two main sources:
1) From donors (individuals, groups and organisations including schools) through donations and bequests; and
2) From the government through competitive grants applied from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Government funding is available for development and humanitarian projects.
We strive to ensure that around 90 percent of our income is spent on our programmes for development, relief, education and advocacy around the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand. However, we incur certain administrative costs which include transparent and independently audited processes for use of money, issuing tax receipts to donors for funds donated, answering phone and written queries from donors and supporters, and maintaining relationships with both our supporters and our programme partners. Usually over a five year period we would expect our administration costs to average around 10 percent of our total income for any one year. These costs may vary slightly year to year; however, overall this figure compares very favourably with similar aid organisations in New Zealand and internationally.
Rather than offering child sponsorship, Caritas offers the One World Partnership programme which is for individuals or families who want to make an ongoing commitment to support development in poor communities and our emergency relief work through regular giving.
The Gospel values of faith, hope and love underpin everything we do. Catholic social teaching, Vatican and Papal documents, current news, government policies, New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ statements and Caritas Internationalis are some of our most important sources, as well as interviews and reports. We also learn from our development and justice partners around the world, including in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Caritas Internationalis is the international confederation of Caritas organisations. There are 165 Caritas member organisations around the world. Many of them are our project partners for both relief and development work. Some well-known Caritas members are CAFOD in the United Kingdom, Trócaire in Ireland and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the United States.
Our partners include members of Caritas Internationalis, NGOs, community groups and other civil society organisations.
We partner with organisations within a country that work alongside communities providing emergency relief and development programmes. Our international programmes staff liaise with these groups by email, phone and visits to support and accompany them in their work. In emergency situations when staff and resources are requested by our partners, we work to meet the needs of those affected. All our work is delivered in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.