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Caritas steps in to help the needy in Singapore

Families minister says there is much to learn from faith groups



Published: November 26, 2015 10:11 AM GMT

Updated: November 25, 2015 11:15 PM GMT

Caritas steps in to help the needy in Singapore

Caritas Singapore has consolidated its services to provide better care and support to those in need.

While all life is precious, it is "more so when it is a life of the poor, the oppressed, the afflicted and the abandoned," said Archbishop William Goh of Singapore while inaugurating "Agape Village" on Nov. 21.

Hence the church’s mission has a preferential option for the poor and the poorest of the poor, he pointed out in a Caritas Singapore press release.

Agape Village houses 13 member organizations of Caritas Singapore that will work together to provide care and support to those in need. 

These include low-income families, people living with HIV, those with mental or physical problems, at-risk young people, the terminally ill and former prisoners.

Caritas Singapore says this coming together under one roof will allow for its caregivers to "proactively look out for unmet needs and potential risks" that individuals and families face.

Janet Ang, chair of Caritas Singapore, said that the vision for the project is that of "a community living the Catholic social teaching" to provide holistic and integrated care to the poor, marginalized and those limited by circumstances.

The idea of Agape Village was born when retired Singapore Archbishop Nicholas Chia offered a piece of land to Caritas to do something for the poor.

Since its operation began in mid-October, case managers led by Catholic Welfare Services have handled more than 25 cases with many requiring intricate support across member organizations, according to Ang.

She pointed to a case of a woman who is raising three children and looking after elderly parents while her husband is in prison.

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"Their needs for finances, medical care and emotional and psychological support have seen the joint partnerships between our Catholic Welfare Services, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Boy’s Town," said Ang.

Agape Village also has facilities for migrant workers, the elderly and others.

Tan Chuan-Jin, Singapore’s social and family development minister, was the guest of honor at the opening. Writing on his Facebook page, the minister said: "As a secular society, there is also much that we can learn from the various faiths we have here in Singapore."

Caritas Singapore is the social service arm of the Catholic Church in Singapore. It comprises 24 member organizations that help more than 50,000 people each year, regardless of race or religion.

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