Caritas’ Mission Inspires Notre Dame Students

Caption 1: Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot (centre), with Notre Dame’s Experience the World participants at the book launch.

Caption 1: Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot (centre), with Notre Dame’s Experience the World participants at the book launch.

A life-changing trip to Peru provided the inspiration for students from The University of Notre Dame Australia to record their experiences in a new book titled Holistic Development in Action; Changing Lives in Peru.

Launched at Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus by Caritas Australia CEO, Jack de Groot, the book details the students’ experiences as they travelled with members of Caritas through the Andes mountains, visiting remote schools and communities in 2012.

The trip was made available through the University’s Experience the World program, which was developed in 2005, in collaboration with Caritas Australia and the School of Arts & Sciences on the Fremantle Campus.

Arts student, Vicky Burrows, said she witnessed first-hand how effectively Caritas workers engaged with the communities to deliver change and improve the quality of life for Peruvian people.

“As a result of the experience I gained a deeper understanding of how Caritas adopts a framework of holistic development in order to further their mission of creating thriving communities around the world,” Ms Burrows said.

“I learnt a lot about the political and economic realities and the importance of advocacy in the area of social justice which can help bring about change in people’s lives.”

Education student, Gary Bonney, who also took part in the trip, was also impressed with the work of Caritas.

“Caritas teaches people how they can sustain themselves and their community from the grass-roots level,” said Mr Bonney.”

“I’ve brought back to Australia and to my studies a sense of the value of community and bringing communities together.

“I also am now very aware of the importance of training people in financial management and budgeting. I also have a greater understanding of the rewards of sharing, not only within the community, but with people in surrounding areas.”

The Experience the World program is designed to expose students to the real world of poverty, trauma, enterprise and the human spirit in ways that will ultimately enrich their academic learning.

Over the past eight years, Notre Dame students have visited communities in Uganda, Cambodia and India, witnessing the challenges of social and environmental issues including water and sanitation, food security, education and health care.

Global Education Coordinator for Caritas Australia in WA and the Northern Territory, Janeen Murphy, is also a sessional lecturer in Social Justice at the University. Ms Murphy believes the Experience the World program provides students with the unique opportunity to practice social justice and natural resource management in diverse environments.

“The program is part of Caritas Australia’s strategic plan to develop partnerships with Catholic agencies to further the social mission of the Church,” Ms Murphy said.

“It is an excellent example of how we can develop a greater awareness in Australia of social justice issues around the world.

Caritas Australia is the Catholic agency for international humanitarian relief and development in Australia. Through effective relationships with the Church, partners and communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific and Australia, Caritas Australia helps to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity. Our programs promote the good of every person and of the whole person, regardless of people’s religious, political or cultural beliefs. We envisage a world in which children, women and men most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice are agents of their own change and architects of their own development.

For more information contact: Media Advisor, Nicole Clements on 0408 869 833
Or WA Regional Co-ordinator, Daniel Chan on Tel (08) 9422 7925; Mob 0437 978 299