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Building a brighter future
Dinia’s story is one of healing, through her own skill and perseverance, and
through support from a Caritas-Australia funded program.
Living in the Philippines, she struggled daily with poverty in a country with
many vulnerable communities.
People living in rural and coastal areas have very little access to basic services.
They face extreme weather events, environmental degradation and the effects
of internal conflict and have little hope of a sustainable income.
For Dinia, the untimely death of her husband meant an end to his small income
and a greater struggle to feed and educate her children. She struggled alone,
facing a future without hope, until her community encouraged her to participate
in the Socio Pastoral Action Center Foundation Inc. (SPACFI) program
supported by Caritas Australia.
SPACFI’s integrated community development program helped her develop
diverse ways to gain a sustainable livelihood, continue to send her children to
school and contribute to her community. The program highlights the need to
work together for the common good, awakening Dinia’s innate generosity and
leadership qualities. She was able to learn about organic farming, managing
livestock, and starting a small business.
Now she has an integral role in her community, a sustainable livelihood, and a
brighter future for her children.
“My life is much better now. It is much easier,” she says.
“Through the voice of the poor
we can become one, and it’s
very powerful,” says Semiti,
who grew up in an informal or
‘squatter’ settlement in Fiji.
More than a quarter of Fiji’s
people live in these settlements,
with little hope of finding
permanent housing and land.
Their situation is particularly
vulnerable – many live in
unstable shelters, and there is a
constant threat of extreme climate events.
Children have few opportunities for education, and unemployment
levels are high. There is little access to public services such as roads,
water supply, electricity and garbage collection.
Now Semiti is working together with other residents of informal
settlements to make positive changes. He is the Director of the
People’s Community Network (PCN), which Caritas Australia
PCN helps empower landless people in Fiji, enabling them to address
the issues that affect their lives. The network helps people in each
settlement to advocate together to improve their living conditions.
They work in committees on issues relating to health and hygiene;
care of the elderly and of women who need empowerment; education
needs; and unemployment.
Semiti and other informal settlement residents tell how PCN helps
them work together as neighbours, in solidarity. Through their
participation in housing, savings and education programs, they have
formed common bonds, and have grown in resilience and in dignity.
Journey to wellbeing
First Australian Uncle Richard is a survivor of the Stolen Generations, forcibly removed from his
family as a child and taken to Kinchela Boys Home (KBH) in NSW.
Hundreds of Indigenous boys were incarcerated there between 1924 and 1970,
suffering ongoing physical and verbal abuse. They lost every aspect of their identity
their names, their culture and their families.
When Uncle Richard left KBH, he struggled with the legacy of pain, trying to find relief through his
work as an artist. But he attributes the beginning of his healing to something even more powerful
than his creative work, his reconnection with former KBH boys.
The KBH Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) was established by KBH survivors to reunite with one
another and begin healing. KBHAC’s Unlocking the Past to Free the Future program works to
restore the social and emotional wellbeing of the survivors and their families. The former KBH
boys have realised that their shared suffering has created a brotherhood. They support each other
by sharing their stories, and coming to a common understanding of how their experiences have
impacted on themselves and their descendants.
Through KBHAC, the men are also opening the door to the wider Australian community, inviting
everyone to journey together as neighbours in the healing process.
Caritas Australia supports KBHAC and is proud to walk alongside in partnership on the journey to
Caritas in action
To read more stories about Caritas’ work overseas go to
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