8 Mar 2012
Fish Friday in the heart of the CBD is a popular feature of Caritas' annual fundraiser.
Each year well known chef, Peter Doyle and his team from the five star restaurant, @Quay serve approximately 2000 lunches of fish and rice to shoppers, CBD workers and passersby who donate the cost of whatever their usual city lunch costs.
Caritas is the aid and development arm of the Catholic Church. The world's largest aid agency after the Red Cross, Caritas provides ongoing help and assistance to the world's poorest communities. Through education and improved agriculture, hygiene, medical care, accessible fresh water and schools, Caritas helps communities to break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient.
'Caritas Australia is about helping people help themselves and is also about delivering justice and peace which in turn leads to stability and security," says Jack de Groot, CEO of Caritas Australia.
The agency's Project Compassion throughout Lent first began 48 years with individuals, groups, organisations and schools all pitching in to make a difference.
Last year a record $9.7 million was raised to support Caritas projects in 220 countries. This year it is hoped the amount raised will not only break new records but top the $10 million mark.
But as Project Compassion enters its third week, sad news comes from Zimbabwe that 39-year-old Colletta, who was chosen as one of Caritas Australia's ambassadors for this year's fund raiser, had died.
But before Caritas' intervention in her village, educating them about growing vegetables and herbs, supplying agricultural equipment and rehabilitating old bore holes and wells, Colletta desperately struggled to keep her family alive.
"I had lost hope in life and found it difficult to even find enough for one decent meal for my family each day. We were labelled a family of beggars and the community where we lived had no money, poor nutrition, no safe water or sanitation," she said earlier this year and described how her life was changed by the people from Caritas.
A leader in her village, Colletta was instrumental in helping Caritas and her community join together to develop nutritious food, access to clean water, healthy livestock and the sustainability of crops and land.
"Physically I am stronger and can work in the garden and I want to thank Australians for their generosity and request they assist more people so that their lives can improve as mine as done," she reported, praising Caritas for their help.
But this week news came through that Colletta, weakened by the tuberculosis, had lost her courageous battle against HIV.
To donate to Project Compassion and help make a difference in communities such as the one in Zimbabwe where Colletta fought against poverty and disease, log on to www.caritas.org.au