Caritas Bangladesh (CB) is a national organization, established by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) to carry out activities promoting integrated social welfare and development. There is a General Body (GB) which formulates polices and under the guidance of an Executive Board (EB) Caritas Management headed by the Executive Director assisted by other Directors functions.
CB was founded in 1967 as the eastern branch of Caritas Pakistan. Following the cyclone of November 1970 it was re-organized and became known as CORR (Christian Organization for Relief and Rehabilitation) and took on the character of a national organization on January 13, 1971. The name Caritas was re-introduced in 1976.
CB is registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 No. of 1972-73 dated 13.07.1972. It is also registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau, Prime Minister’s Secretariat, and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh having registration No. 009 dated 22.04.1981 under the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Ordinance, 1978 and under the Micro Credit Regulatory Authority Act 2006 with the registration No. 00032-00286-00184, dated 16.03.2008.
CB has its Central Office in Dhaka. There are eight Regional (or Diocesan) Offices in Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Dinajpur, Khulna, Mymensingh, Rajshahi and Sylhet. In all these places CB is operational in Charity and compassion, Disaster Management and Human Resource Development.
Values that inspire our work are:
Charity and Compassion: Confronted by global poverty and suffering, our fundamental response is compassion rooted in love. Following Catholic Social Teaching, we make a
preferential option for the poor, extreme poor and our brothers and sisters in need. We do not accept the suffering of our needy brothers and sisters as granted: we recognize their dignity and gracefulness in enduring suffering, and we are determined to take action to alleviate it.
Hope: Our hope is inspired by Christian faith and the strength and resourcefulness of our brothers and sisters whom we serve, and we on the natural resources of our land. We ardently believe that by working together, we can have a better world where all are able to enjoy fullness of life.
Dignity: We believe in the intrinsic dignity of every person and that all women and men are equal, and that everyone is responsible to one another according to proper family and social relationship. We work with all peop0le regardless of race, gender, religion, social status or politics.
Justice: We believe that the root cause of poverty and misery of our majority propel is deeply rooted in the unbalanced economic, social, political and cultural structures, and that every person has a right to necessary gifts of life. We work to transform economic, social, political and cultural structures that are opposed to a just society. Caritas listens to the voice of brothers and sisters in need and enables them to speak for their well-being.
Partnership: We uphold the principle of subsidiary to build links between communities within the country acknowledging that all receive as well as give. We work within and beyond our Catholic community seeking justice to change unjust situation in our country for the good of all. .
Solidarity: We work to enhance solidarity with the people of all faiths, especially with our disadvantaged brothers and sisters, seeing the world through their eyes, and recognizing the interdependence of the human family.
Stewardship: We be4ive the planet and all its resource are entrusted to humankind and see4k to act in an environmentally responsible way as true stewards of creation.
Peace: We believe pace requires respect for and the development of human live, which in turn involves the caring for and safeguarding of the goods, dignity, freedom and responsibility of people, Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent upon right order among human beings.
- Caritas Bangladesh is governed and operational guided by its philosophies. Since its inception, Caritas Bangladesh has been mandated the following two basic principles:
a) Integral development of "whole person". In accordance with the mind of the Church Caritas is in search of a New Humanism which will enable humanity today to find
itself a new way by embracing the higher values of life and friendship, of prayer, contemplation and Compassion. Caritas professes the growth of the person from
less human to more human through the integral development of the whole person.
Caritas, thus, is committed to a spirituality in development, i.e. to improvement in the total quality of the human life through the harmonious blending of the spiritual,
moral, cultural, social, political and economic well-being of the person integrated in the society in equal dignity as man and woman.
b) Universality and openness to all peoples of Bangladesh: In a spirit of prayer and humility and of deepening faith in God and submission to His Holy will, Caritas is
with and for all peoples of goodwill in Bangladesh irrespective of caste, creed or religion, by standing up for what Is righteous in the eyes of God and in upholding the
dignity of the person.
- Following experiences and learning from past decades, Caritas reviewed its philosophy at great depth and intensity adopting some basic principles of its philosophy in
accordance with the objectives of its Memorandum of Association (1972) of CB:
a) Primacy of Human Person: This is an accepted value in all religions and cultures.
The integral development of the human person is to be inter-related to the integral development of the community.
b) Witness to the Gospel: Caritas works in accordance with the Gospel principle of Love and Mercy for all in order to alleviate suffering and oppression, and bring true
human development. In this Caritas is one in mind and heart with the same Love and Mercy of the creator toward all His creatures, found in all religions and cultures.
c) Power among the Powerless: This remains the cardinal principle of Caritas development thrust. Through a process of coming together to think and act as a
community a spirit of one in mind and heart is created among people, and power and ability is achieved to assert themselves and stand against injustices and oppression, in conformity with one's authentic rights and duties.
d) Caritas invests heavily in people: This is the area of formation of the human person through authentic education. Caritas has been active in the area of functional and non-formal type of education, and can provide transformative approach for more life-oriented and holistic education at formal level. Universal literacy and primary education is the basis in this process.
e) To Spread Social. Justice and Charity: Forcefully yet non-violently vigilant against forces that subvert authentic development, Caritas insists on the rooting out of the
causes for poverty and underdevelopment. Programs of development must bear fruit in the lives of the poor in very concrete ways through fair and equitable distribution of wealth etc., as manifestation of God's special blessings.
f) Caritas professes preferential option for the poor: Caritas has opted to work for partner groups of especially the rural poor and the socially, economically, culturally
and geographically marginalized communities. Caritas propagates living a life of Religion: While many times development as such can tend to lead people away from God and Religion, authentic development will lead people to God and Religion, i.e., to that love for God and for an humanity, Which is true religion.
g) Healing Misery and Oppression: Age-old misery and oppression have created deep wounds in the body, mind; heart and soul of the oppressed person and society.
Eradication Injustice and oppression is not merely uprooting them in an impersonal way, but above all through a personal loving and caring engagement as a wounded healer with the person wounded by injustice and oppression.
h) Caritas creates communion of mind and heart among peoples: Division among peoples is the greatest misery, under-development and sin in world culture.
Reconciliation and communion among all peoples and religions should get clear emphasis in all Caritas policies and programs.
i) Integral development of the human person as man and woman: The human person as man and woman is a nuclear communion. This communion is painfully
disturbed especially because of deep-rooted offenses against the dignity and equality of women. Caritas is to work to remove discrimination against the girl-child and women, in order to promote their rightful dignity and equality toward promotion of that nuclear communion.
j) Respect to the earth and its goods: Integral development requires respectful use and proper development of earthly goods. Humanity is to be friends of the earth by
preserving its resources and environment Wasteful exploitation of resources and pollution of the environment are to be avoided.
k) Caritas upholds partnership and participation: Partnership and participation are concrete expressions of communion of mind and heart with others. On the one hand Caritas operates in a spirit, not of competition, but of partnership with agencies which pursue goals akin to Caritas. On the other hand Caritas works not only for people but rather with people as equal partners for development
I) Caritas is for "sheba": Caritas is for "sheba", i, e., service in a spirit of religious devotion. Involvement in Caritas should be seen as a call from God to offer one's life
for others and to see others as precious gift of God for our life. It is not only work but life itself is offered; and it is mutually offered, for as we serve we are in turn served
by a friend, by a brother or a sister. Both Caritas personnel and those benefiting from Caritas programs should have this same spirit of "sheba",
m) Caritas offers formation to become "Caritas - minded": Caritas personnel and those within Caritas projects and programs will receive formation in the vision and
philosophy and spirituality of Caritas, in order to themselves become truly "Caritas- minded.
Our Vision, Inspiration and Mission
Vision: In the light of the Social Teachings of the Church, Caritas Bangladesh envisions a society which embraces the values of freedom and justice, peace and forgiveness allowing all to live as a communion and community of mutual love and respect.
Inspiration: We are inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, who says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me... as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:34-36, 40).
Mission: Caritas Bangladesh tries to function in partnership with people – especially the poor and the marginalized, with equal respect for all – to attain integral development, to live a truly human life in dignity and to serve others responsibly and with love.