Every year, people around Australia people turn Lent into a demonstration of faith, love and generosity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Project Compassion, the fundraising campaign run by Caritas Australia.

This year's theme for Project Compassion is ‘be more’, referring to the words of El Salvadorean priest and martyr St Oscar Romero, ‘Aspire not to have more, but to be more.’

This simple idea serves as a reminder of the simple actions people can take to ‘be more’ for our world, and help make a difference in the lives of others.

It’s a timely message, given that this year, owing to complications resulting from coronavirus, rates of extreme poverty are set to rise for the first time in twenty years.

Across the six weeks of Lent, Caritas Australia will be sharing five stories from resilient people striving to ‘be more’ for their families and communities – just a few stories amongst the millions of people who have been helped through Project Compassion.

The stories include Jamila, a 21-year-old Rohingya single mother living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh; Margaret, a teacher at a vocational school for deaf students in the Solomon Islands in an area with water shortages; Olivia, a Tanzanian farmworker who teaches free literacy and numeracy classes to neighbours; Arsad, a farmer from Indonesia who facilitated the building of toilets in his community and improved hygiene practices; and Halima, a single mother and community trainer living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

In these stories, it’s possible see how the generosity of Australians has impacted people around the world.

For over half a century, generations of Australians have participated in Project Compassion. The initiative has raised more than $500 million dollars since it began in 1965, making it one of the nation’s longest-running charity campaigns.

The Project Compassion campaign has supported the world’s most remote, vulnerable and marginalised communities – those affected by natural disasters, conflicts, refugee crises, food and water shortages – to overcome the challenges of living with poverty.

For many, Project Compassion’s iconic collection boxes have become a nostalgic part of their lives, and a reminder around home, school, church and the community that it’s time to support Caritas Australia’s annual appeal.

To read the Project Compassion feature stories click here.

For access to Project Compassion classroom resources click here.