Press Release – Caritas Aotearoa
A nationwide awareness and fundraising event for Solomon Islands, which was over a year in planning, became all the more significant due to flash floods which devastated the country on Friday.7 April 2014
Over 6,000 youth take part in timely fundraiser for Solomon Islands
A nationwide awareness and fundraising event for Solomon Islands, which was over a year in planning, became all the more significant due to flash floods which devastated the country on Friday.
Over the weekend 6,000 young people took part in the Caritas Challenge, a new nationwide event to encourage youth to walk in someone else’s shoes, in a bid to understand and experience some of the challenges people living in poverty face. The theme and beneficiaries for 2014 were the people of Solomon Islands.
Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand said she is humbled and inspired by the response from young people around the country who stepped out of their comfort zones and into someone else’s shoes.
“This is the first year we have held the Caritas Challenge, I am blown away that 6,000 youth from over 50 schools and youth groups got involved – it is incredible. It shows how committed young people are to poverty and social justice issues, and how ready they are to address them.”
From Invercargill to Whangerei, young people engaged in activities around four themes – ‘Live it’ ‘Move it’ ‘Sweat it’ ‘Stop it’ to bring them closer to living conditions of those less fortunate.
They slept overnight in makeshift cardboard box homes, worked in sweatshop like conditions, went without food and walked long distances to collect water.
As Challenge events began on Friday morning, news arrived of the flooding in Solomon Islands which left at least 16 people dead, thousands homeless and destroyed roads and infrastructure.
Mrs Hickey said Solomon Islands are one of the poorest nations in the Pacific, facing daily challenges to provide vital services such as water, housing, health and education.
“The Islands have great need, the floods will have a lasting impact on a country which is already vulnerable. For young people taking part in the Caritas Challenge, the reality of the floods in Solomon Islands gave their fundraising, actions and prayers further meaning.”
An initial pledge of NZ $10,000 has been made to Solomon Islands from Caritas’ Emergency Response Fund and Caritas is supporting its partners with further response and recovery initiatives.
Funds raised from the 2014 Caritas Challenge will support Solomon Islands, with water and sanitation programmes, early childhood education teacher training, rural training centres and a centre for the deaf.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.