Walkathons, dance-offs, pilgrimages and sleeping overnight in cardboard shelters are some of the “challenges” undertaken by schools and youth groups for the Caritas Challenge.
Aimed at raising awareness about social justice issues in the world, as well as raising funds for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Challenge helps give young people some understanding of what people living with poverty and injustice experience daily, by taking on
“challenges” for 24 hours.
One such challenge was again taken on by west Auckland youth groups, known collectively as West Loves Caritas, who completed a 24-hour walkathon for the third year in a row to raise awareness of and show solidarity with thousands of people in poverty around the world.
Participant Peter Tanginoa said he loved the walk because it was the only time he thought he could come close to the type of suffering so many people face.
“Every day I go through a struggle, but the struggle isn’t as big as starving for weeks or walking miles just to get water. At the end of our walk, when my energy and emotions are drained, I still haven’t gone through the same struggle as people in the country that we are walking for. But I understand it more.”
The journey started on April 15 at 10pm at St Patrick’s Huapai, and proceeded to St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city — about 30km.
The Caritas Challenge this year focuses on a development programme in Cambodia.
More than 11,000 young people have so far taken part in the event this year, which was launched by schools and youth groups in each diocese on April 1-2 and ran until May 15.