Posted in Social Justice

CaSPA Principal Cautions Parents on Student Cli...

Posted on 13 March 2019
Greens' Bega candidate Will Douglas being investigated by education department after complaint about his comments

A relief teacher at a New South Wales high school, who is also a Greens candidate, is being investigated by the Department of Education over remarks made at a candidates' forum about the upcoming student climate strike.

Will Douglas, who has worked casually at Moruya high school on the state's south coast since 2006, has been told he will not be offered any more shifts at the school while the investigation takes place.

It comes as the principal of a Victorian Catholic school warned students that striking was an "unapproved" absence that could lead to a zero if they missed any official tests on the day.

Inspired by Swedish student Greta Thunberg, the movement calls on students to partially strike from school to protest government inaction on fighting climate change. More than 50 rallies, in Australian capital cities and regional towns, are planned for 15 March.

Douglas, who is contesting the seat of Bega in the upcoming state election, appeared at a lunchtime candidates' forum organised by Youth Action at the Moruya golf club last Thursday, alongside local Liberal MP Andrew Constance and Labor candidate Leanne Atkinson.

Douglas said he attended the forum with the knowledge of his superiors at the school.

During the forum, which was attended by students from a range of high schools, Douglas said "please don't forget March 15 the climate strike if there's something happening at your school will you please get online and register because there's a whole community out there wanting to support you guys, young people, in that strike".

The remarks were published in News Corp's Daily Telegraph on Monday, in an article that also revealed a complaint had been made to the department and that an investigation was under way.

Douglas told Guardian Australia he had no knowledge of any investigation until contacted by the newspaper and he did not know who had made the complaint.

He said the principal told him this week he would not be working any more shifts at the school until the investigation was complete.

"I was speaking on my own time in my lunch break as a Greens candidate at a youth forum," he said. "Now I don't have any work. It shouldn't be this hard to speak up for climate action."

Douglas said Moruya high was a wonderful school, and that he had been treated with nothing but respect by the principal. However he believed the complaint itself was "politically motivated".

A spokeswoman for the department said they were making inquiries into the matter but that it would be inappropriate to comment on the employment status of an individual teacher.

"While the department understands students may be passionate about a range of issues, all students who are enrolled at school are expected to attend that school whenever instruction is provided," she said.

"Staff members providing advice contrary to departmental policies may be subject to allegations of misconduct."

Meanwhile in Victoria, the principal of Catholic girls school Siena College sent a letter to students and parents last week warning that striking students could receive a zero if they missed official tests and assignments on the day.

"We acknowledge the students' right to give voice to their very genuine concerns regarding the federal government's record on climate change," the principal, Gaynor Robson-Garth wrote.

"Attendance at the strike will however be an 'unapproved' absence from school. If a student chooses to participate in the strike, VCE school-assessed coursework and other assessment tasks will be recorded as not assessed (NA) and no alternative opportunity will be provided to complete any missed assessments.

"The decision to participate in the strike is entirely a decision for parents and students. The strike is not endorsed by the college."

Last November, thousands of Australian students walked out of school to attend rallies across the country. Since then, strikes have been organised in the UK and the United States, and 15 March has been billed as a global day of action, with further strikes organised for the US and Europe on the same day.

In February, the NSW education minister, Rob Stokes, told students that they "should be at school" on the day.

Student Doha Khan from Adelaide told Guardian Australia on Monday the students had three demands: stopping the Adani coalmine, no new fossil fuel projects and 100% renewables by 2030.


From: The Guardian

By: Naaman ZhouLast modified on Wed 13 Mar 2019 12.48 AEDT

Aid vs Development - How CaSPA is helping in So...

Posted on 9 December 2018

We have all heard the truism that if you give a poor person a fish you feed them for a day - teach them to fish and you feed them for life...

That is the essential difference between AID and DEVELOPMENT. The former is short term, the latter hopefully can bring about long term and sustainable change. With this in mind CaSPA has committed support to training female students at the Solidarity Teacher Training College in Yambio. We are supporting this project in part because of the Australian connection to a number of the staff at the College.  One of them - Br Bill Firman has provided this outline of the yearly budget of the work undertaken by the Solidarity Team in Sudan. We are highly appreciative of this feedback which confirms that donations to this very worthy cause are use for their intended purposes.

Naturally you are encouraged to add your personal and/or school support to this very worthy cause.  Just contact Br Bill on


The Engine Room

Usually, twice each year, I go to Rome for meetings of the Solidarity Board, the Solidarity Finance committee and to consult with our Rome office staff and our fundraising personnel. So it was that two weeks ago in Rome these meetings took place, including our Annual Solidarity Assembly to which all the contributing congregations that make up Solidarity are invited. Also present were some of the former personnel who had served with Solidarity during the past ten years and some of our donor/partners. It was a very supportive and encouraging gathering attended by 95 people. A highlight of the celebration was a video presentation by Paul Jeffrey on the mission of Solidarity among the people of South Sudan. Instead of providing some photos, as I usually do, I invite you to go to the link and watch the 16 minute vimeo on 'A decade of Solidarity'. Paul depicts very well the spirit of Solidarity and our ministry among the people here.

I attach also a couple of articles recently written by Paul that describe our Mission and the situation in South Sudan. He is a great, voluntry supporter.
A former Superior General of our Brothers used to say quite pointedly, even while directing our efforts to help the poor and marginalised, ' No money, no mission!' I usually write about what we are experiencing and what we are doing but the fact is that we are only able to be in South Sudan because of extraordinary support from individuals, religious congregations and donor/partners.

The Solidarity Board has approved a recurrent budget of US$2.604,238 for 2019 and a capital budget of $875,388.

The budget for training approximately 120 nurses or midwives in the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau has been set at $789,455

while training a similar number of teachers in the Solidarity Teacher Training College in Yambio will require $591,231.

Our Agriculture Training programme in Riimenze will cost $179,246

while another $117,264 is budgeted for assisting the Internally Displaced people in Riimenze.

For pastoral programmes the Solidarity budget figure is $81,600 but there are other funds also secured in the name of, and accounted for by our Pastoral Team, in the names of various diocesan projects.

Then there is $64,880 to be used in Distance Education where we go out to more remote locations to offer in- service teacher training.

General administration, payment of taxes and National Superannuation Insurance in Juba, humanitarian aid and assistance to local congregations requires a budget of $411,810.

Other smaller expenditures are on the clinic in Riimenze and food distribution programmes in Juba as well as supporting a school run by graduates and volunteers in one of the Protection of Civilian camps in Juba.

The Board approves items in the capital budget specifically only when a donor can be found. So far we have secured funding to build a sixth dormitory in the CHTI that will enable us to reach our goal of equal numbers of male and female students and an increased student population of 140. We also have funding for a multi-purpose shelter in the CTI that will be used for outdoor study, graduations, classes and dining. We are seeking further capital funding for both the CHTI and STTC to provide more staff accommodation.
What about Income?

Based on this year's figures and funds already secured, we expect to receive

$1,616,302 from donor/partners,

$749,000 through Congregations, $62,500 in tuition fees,

$58,000 from private donors and

other income (mostly gleaned from currency exchange rate differential) of $138,500.

To completely fund the budget, including capital, we would need to secure another $854,000; but capital projects can be delayed if necessary Funding is looking good for 2019.
These funds are generated by our Solidarity Office in Rome (4 persons, equivalent to 3.2 full-time) and the Friends in Solidarity office in the USA (one person). These people are our engine room generating the resources so that we can deliver the services. They generate the funds, track them, account for them (with assistance from our Finance office in Juba and the other locations) and report back to donors.
This is an essential task that is handled so well that we now have genuine credibility with donors leading to several multi-annual agreements that are now in place. We are operating on a sound fiscal base thanks to this very good work. My estimate is that of the total projected budget of $3,479,627, the amount used for administration is $390,000 and the rest (88%) goes into service delivery.
Supervising all this and setting directions is the Solidarity Board comprised by 13 members, most from religious congregations but including one lay person and one representative of the South Sudan Catholic Bishops. Their work is thorough, unpaid and requiring a considerable commitment of time and energy. The minutes of the Finance committee meeting held before the Board were 13 pages. My report to the Board was 20 pages, with many other supporting documents, all to be read before the meeting. The minutes of the Board meeting are 21 pages long while the General Assembly minutes are a relatively small 7 pages. Board members have to read these carefully. As Executive Director, I am also the secretary producing all these documents for meetings; but the Board has put in place Statutes, a Strategic Plan, Governance Manual, Personnel Handbook and a Finance Manual. None of us are tourists when in Rome. Currently the Board is embarking upon a Monitoring and Evaluation exercise that will help us to analyze our impact on South Sudan. I think we can claim to have good governance the outcome of considerable work over the past decade.
To complete the analogy, one could say that the Board holds the steering wheel of the vehicle, 'Solidarity' while the Rome Solidarity offices and the USA FiS office are the engine rooms. I guess I am the drive shaft connecting to the four wheels of our service delivery: the training of heath professionals. teachers, pastoral agents and farmers. The road may be a bit rocky at times but our vehicle is strong enough to handle it as long as we have the right fuel money! No money no mission in South Sudan.
Christmas blessings to all, especially those who support and share our mission. Br Bill



195 Brighton Road, Somerton Park
South Australia, Australia 5044