“Today we are here to share a meal with you, so that we can sit together and hear the stories of your pains and struggles. Staying together and united is very much important for a community and you are witnessing that very well.” – Archbishop of Chittagong Most Rev. Moses M. Costa, CSC.
Caritas organizations across the world invited all men and women of goodwill to ‘share a meal, meet a migrant!’ In response to that Caritas Bangladesh organized a shared lunch on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 in UU Zone, Camp-4, Kutupalong, Ukhia with 1800 Rohingya refugee children from 6 Children Friendly Spaces (CFS) operational in UU zone by Caritas Bangladesh.
Archbishop of Chittagong Most Rev. Moses M. Costa, CSC was present in the event in which he said to the Rohingya leaders locally known as Majhi,
Children are especially challenged during the recent displacement of you from Myanmar. They have a future. You as the social leaders, as the parents need to always give top priority for their needs. Take assistance for the traumatized children so that they are healed. Today we are going to share meal with the children. Having meal with them is the expression that we are especially concerned for the children. Being children they also have rights and dignity, they also have some stories to share.
“Why sharing a meal? Because sharing a meal is an opportunity to meet. When we have a meal at home it’s the moment when the family speaks”- Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis Michel Roy
His Holiness Pope Francis during launching the ‘Share the Journey’ campaign in September 2017 invited everyone to ‘meet a migrant’. “While continuously pushing this ‘culture of encounter’ Pope Francis explained that specific moments are needed to give extra strength to the momentum that has been generated” said Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis Michel Roy while talking about the ‘share a meal’ campaign to Vatican News.
Caritas is promoting a ‘Global Week of Action’ from 17-24 June with events and initiatives to help people really ‘get in touch’ and take actions as Pope Francis appealed. On 19 June’s event of Caritas Bangladesh it’s Executive Director Francis Atul Sarkar, Assistant Executive Director (Fiance & Admin) Sebastian Rozario, Regional Director of Chittagong James Gomes, Senior Manager of Disaster Management Department Pintu William Gomes were present with the staffs of ‘Provision of Site & Shelter Support for Refugees from Northern Rakhain State of Myanmar in Bangladesh Project’. In solidarity with Caritas Bangladesh Archbishop of Chittagong Most Rev. Moses M. Costa CSC, Bishop of Barisal Most Rev. Lawrence Subrato Howlader CSC, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CEO) Sean Callahan, Country Manager of CRS Pankaj Kumar, South Asia Representative of CRS Tony Castleman, Communication Officer of Caritas Canada Khoudia Ndiaye, Humanitarian Program Officer of Caritas Canada Dominique Godbout, Country Representative of Caritas Switzerland Amrita Rozario, Pastoral Coordinator of Chittagong Archdiocese Manik Willver D’Costa, Communications Officer of CRS Caroline Brennan, Member of Governing and Executive Body of Caritas Bangladesh Khunthairoy Francis Tripura were present in the event.
“A Church without charity does not exist. Caritas is an essential part of the Church and that it institutionalizes love in the Church. Caritas has two dimensions: action and a divine dimension situated in the heart of the Church. Caritas is the caress of the Church to its people, the caress of the Mother Church to her children, her tenderness and closeness.” – His Holiness Pope Francis.
671,500 arrivals of Rohingya Refugees since August 2017 are reported as of 15 March, according to the IOM Needs and Population Monitoring (NPM) Round 8 site assessment. Since then Caritas Bangladesh is operational in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar with a project named ‘Provision of Site & Shelter Support for Refugees from Northern Rakhain State of Myanmar in Bangladesh Project’. It is providing food and non food items, planning and implementing camp management system, site mapping, shelter support, etc. Mr. Majharul Islam who is a Program Officer of Caritas Chittagong Region is presently responsible as the Head of Program of the project. Caritas Bangladesh is a social and charitable organization of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh and registered as a National NGO. Inspired by Gospel values and the Catholic Social Teaching, Caritas responds to disasters, promotes integral human development and advocates on the causes of poverty and conflict. Caritas is organised at local (parish), diocesan, national, regional and international level. Caritas has a rich history of listening respectfully to the suffering of the poor and giving them the tools to transform their own lives. The deep moral and spiritual principles of dignity, justice, solidarity and stewardship still guide Caritas today.