Caritas India sees surge in local donors

Aid from foreign benefactors declines forcing agency to look inward
Caritas India has been witnessing an increase in donations from within the country as the attention of foreign donors has been drawn to hotspots like Africa and the Middle East.

About US$1.5 million was donated by donors from India for the flash floods in the northern states of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

"Our international donors have been declining so we've had to intensify our efforts for more funding from within India," Father Frederick D'souza, executive director of Caritas India, told ucanews.com.

Father D'souza said that the agency embarked on its own fund-raising campaign rather than rely on collections at diocesan levels.

"We felt that there was a need for us to improve our visibility, to promote our work so that we can gather more funds for our work," he said.

The priest said Caritas India officials and volunteers made their presence felt in the corporate sector, attending corporate events, where they would offer presentations of the agency's work in different parts of India.

The highest percentage of donations came from southern part of India, a traditional Catholic stronghold.

The donors included private companies, schools and institutions, Caritas member organizations and individuals.

Expressing happiness that their efforts paid off, Father D'souza said, "In the coming years, Caritas India member organizations and its local resource mobilization team must not shy away from approaching these potential donors."

Explaining the decline in international donors, the priest said that in recent times, India has been projected as a self-sufficient, progressive country at a global level.

Many international donors, especially from Europe, shifted their focus to Africa, where issues of poverty, war, famine and epidemics like Ebola, were more prevalent, he said.

Caritas India's Decennial Report (2004-15) released in August shows the organization invested US$75 million on 14 major emergencies across the country during the period.

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