Caritas Samoa was founded in February 2008 and became a full member of Caritas Internationalis in 2011. The population of the Pacific islands that make up Samoa is less than 200,000
Caritas Samoa works closely with Caritas organizations, international humanitarian organizations, as well as the Samoan government’s National Disaster Management Office to provide assistance and training where needed. In 2012, after Cyclone Evan hit the Pacific Islands, knocking out power and destroying more than 1,000 homes, Caritas Samoa partnered with other Caritas organizations to provide immediate emergency aid in the form of food, water, and power generators to thousands of people in Samoa, Fiji, and elsewhere. Among the aid provided, Caritas Samoa also offered its basement and three other centers, in partnership with the Red Cross, to shelter over 1,000 people. Caritas Samoa also distributed its emergency aid from six containers already in place, four on the main island of Upolu and two on Savai’i: hygiene kits, jerry cans, tarpaulins, and cooking kits to help families build a temporary shelter and a house.
In addition to its emergency relief work, Caritas Samoa supports low-income families with food and clothing, promotes women’s empowerment initiatives, and helps improve water distribution in rural areas.
Caritas Samoa participates in peace and reconciliation outreach activities, improving relationships between students in schools where there is unrest. Caritas Samoa intends to strengthen its work with youth by creating a center where young people can meet, learn and interact, and encourage young people who dedicate their lives to the Church.
Approximately 5 staff and volunteers run Caritas Samoa’s programs from its headquarters in Apia.
Caritas Samoa works with the Caritas network to develop and implement its activities, such as Caritas Australia, and a project with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand to build classrooms in schools that were affected by the 2009 Pacific tsunami and 2012 Cyclone Evan.