Caritas India, founded in 1962, is the official development arm (registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI 1860 (the Punjab Amendment Act 1957) of the Catholic Churches in India. The word Caritas originates from Latin, which means, Love in Action. The name connotes the efforts to bring Compassion and Love to Humanity. Caritas India is a member of the Caritas confederation of more than 160 member organizations working in nearly 200 countries, making it the second-largest humanitarian network in the world.
Steered by the Gospel principles of love and compassion, and rooted in the commitment for inalienable human rights and social justice, Caritas India has worked in a mission mode, to alleviate human suffering. It believes that there is a close relationship between poverty and the denial of human rights and fundamental freedom, where lack of human rights and fundamental freedom can be both a cause and consequence of poverty. Since its inception, Caritas India has been unique in its strategic responsiveness to emerging social challenges at international and national levels by engaging with social researchers, proponents and policymakers.
Propelled by the commitment to preserve the dignity and sacredness of human personality, Caritas India has served the underprivileged sections of the society, hailing from socially excluded communities, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, and religious minorities by exercising preferential actions for the most marginalised. Resultantly, with a large spectrum of development interventions across the country, Caritas India is recognized as a leading NGO in poverty alleviation through Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction and Natural Resource Management.
The operations of Caritas India were initiated through disaster response during the Bangladesh Refugee crisis in 1971, but over five decades of experience in the field led to diversification and up-scaling of interventions. The present interventions are in the areas of livelihood security, climate change adaptation through natural resource management and sustainable agricultural practices, disaster risk reduction and emergency response, good governance through political participation, anti-human trafficking, peace-building and health care with a focus on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other communicable diseases.
In the past five decades, Caritas India has contributed significantly to nation-building by supporting 22,945 projects to the tune of Rs. 13,730 million. With a shift from Charity and welfare mode to Rights-Based Approach, the strategic role of Caritas India has gone beyond funding the projects, hand-holding hundreds of development organisations to increasing their capacities for achieving greater levels of effectiveness whilst upholding organisational autonomy.