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Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS) is the umbrella body for overseas humanitarian aid by the Archdiocese of Singapore. CHARIS is a member of Caritas Singapore and was launched on 20 August 2010 by His Grace, Archbishop Nicholas Chia.

Humanitarian situations cover natural disasters and other adverse circumstances faced by the poor and needy, especially in developing countries in the region. Aid provided by CHARIS includes funding, medical aid and volunteers for immediate relief as well as the long-term support of those displaced and in need.


As one Body in Christ, to inspire, unite and enable the Catholic Community in Singapore,
to love and serve our neighbours in the region through humanitarian aid and disaster response.

Strategic Pillars


To establish a community for CHARIS affiliates, parishes and local humanitarian organisations and to stay connected with the Caritas and other regional networks.


To help build the capacity and capabilities of Catholic organisations undertaking overseas humanitarian work.


To catalyse volunteer efforts and to lead, share and mobilise efforts to support humanitarian needs.


To engender empathy for all in need of humanitarian aid and inspire compassion grounded in the Scriptures and social teachings of the  Church.

  • The stylised cross identifies CHARIS as a Catholic organisation.
  • The cross also forms an ‘umbrella’ which defines the role of CHARIS as an umbrella organisation.
  • The colour purple representing both the colour of suffering (used during lent) and the ‘‘coming’’ of hope which we seek to bring to those suffering overseas.
  • The light of Christ that radiates through the centre of the stylised cross is the source that inspires and strengthens us to live out our lives in true faith and to fulfil the Church’s social mission for our neighbours in need.

Our History

In the immediate aftermath of the Asian Tsunami which struck on 26 December 2004, the Catholic Church in Singapore collected over S$1.5 million. The Archbishop formed the Archdiocesan Crisis Coordination Team (ACCT) to disburse the funds to other organisations working to help those displaced by the tsunami. Following the Java Earthquake of 2005 and other natural disasters, ACCT became the vehicle for the Archdiocese’s response to all natural disasters. It established a Disaster Aid Fund in 2006 to be able to do so proactively.

In April 2008, a Caritas Singapore roundtable on overseas humanitarian work, which was attended by various Catholic groups working in this area and the Archbishop, identified the need for greater synergy and coordination in this area. The subject of overseas humanitarian aid and alternatives for achieving synergy and coordination were examined in several subsequent forums.

The Caritas Singapore Community Strategy in 2009 proposed the formation of a new umbrella body to provide such coordination. A second roundtable in January 2010 sought and obtained positive feedback on the proposed construct from the various Church organisations undertaking overseas humanitarian work.

Following the second roundtable, the Archbishop agreed to the reconstitution of ACCT as the new umbrella body for overseas humanitarian work. ACCT’s purview was thus expanded from natural disasters to humanitarian relief, and it was renamed Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore (CHARIS).

The Archbishop officially launched CHARIS on 20 August 2010.


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