Caritas Nigeria: what do I need to know?
• In every country the Catholic Church has an NGO called Caritas
• Caritas Nigeria full name is Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria(CCFN), owned and established by Nigerian Bishops in 2010, as a national charity of the Bishops Conference
• Caritas Nigeria is a national agency that can support diocesan groups such as St. Vincent de Paul, JDPCs, Catholic health facilities, other Catholic organisations, to better do their work etc
• Support can be through trainings and through grants or donations
• Caritas Nigeria helps Dioceses respond to emergency situations
• Caritas Nigeria supports about 17,000 orphans and vulnerable children
• Caritas Nigeria supported dioceses where the flood hit the most e.g Onitsha JDPC, Owerri JDPC, Calabar JDPC, Idah JDPC, Lokoja JDPC, Makurdi JDPC, Otukpo KDPC
• Caritas Nigeria Sustain program provides care and treatment to over 40,000 people living with HIV/AIDS
• Caritas Nigeria in partnerships with other church organisations supported 294,000 households that could not feed themselves for six months, until the harvest season, in parts of the North
More on What You Need to Know
• The Catholic church cares for more than 500,000 poor and needy persons every week through St. Vincent de Paul, Knights of St. Mulumba, Knights of St. John, Legion of Mary, irrespective of their religious affiliation
• Every diocese in Nigeria has an arm that fights poverty, ignorance and disease, and it is called JDPC/Caritas
• You have been contributing towards helping the poor, prisoners, setting the oppressed free through JDPC/Caritas with your Lenten contribution. 20% comes to Caritas Nigeria.
• Sometimes there is an emergency and for immediate relief dioceses turn to the national body for help . Caritas Nigeria is set up to meet this challenge for Diocesan groups.
What Can I Do ?
You have been doing. But do you know that you can do more now that you know you can . No matter how terrible your condition is, there are others who may be in worse situations . Therefore no one is too poor or too helpless to do something. Support this national charity of the Bishops, and the poor you will never meet will witness for you on the last day: I was hungry and you gave me to eat… (Matt. 25:31-40). Be your brother’s/sister’s keeper.
How Can I Support Others ?
• Prayer: Pray for a spirit of charity; giving because of God, not giving because you know the person or want to show off or please people or because you are embarassed. Pray also for peace in the world. In Populorum Progressio Pope Paul Vl said the new name for peace is development. Development also means justice. Nigeria is a far cry from justice. 112 million Nigerians live below poverty.17.5 million children in Nigeria are orphans or vulnerable children. Millions of children do not go to school. Many children under 5 suffer malnutrition and 50% of deaths among them is caused by malnutrition. In the midst of this, Nigeria is one of the most corrupt nations of the world. Pray for change. Be an agent of change.
• Volunteer: You could become a volunteer fund raiser for Caritas Nigeria. The needs always outweigh the resources. You do have friends. Tell them the Bishops have set up a foundation that supports groups that work for the underprivileged and those in emergency situations, and that their support is needed. You could have a ring of friends who give you donations for Caritas Nigeria no matter how small, and you pay this into Caritas Nigeria accounts.
• Monthly/Annual Contribution: You could arrange with your bank that every month an amount is deducted automatically from your salary and paid into CCFN accounts. It could be N500 or more or less. You don’t need to be rich to be a philanthropist. Or as a small business owner, you could pay something everyday as you make your deposit into your account.
• 10% of Profit Before Tax: If you are a business owner, Schedule 5 of Company and Income Tax Act(CITA) allows you to use 10% of your profit before tax as donation to NGOs. Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) tax identification number is 10487997-001. Donate to CCFN from your profit before tax.
• Wills and Bequests: As is done in other parts of the world, you can will a property to Caritas Nigeria.
• Special Thanksgiving: When God has done a very special thing in your life, you could make a donation to Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) to mark the occasion.
• Tithes: You could also pay your tithes to Caritas Nigeria through its bank accounts.
• Items: You could donate food items, toilet items, towels, blankets etc
The Bishops have warned that Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) should not depend on funds from overseas, which are dwindling by the way. Bishops want Caritas Nigeria to be owned and supported by ordinary Nigerians. So YOU are a benefactor of Caritas Nigeria(CCFN). Please do something.