It all began when Anne Webb was asked to visit and pray with an AIDS patient at the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC). The bed-ridden patient was partially blind and wanted somebody to pray with him. In those days, and to some extent even now, PLWHAs were shunned by an AIDS-phobic public. Her daughter, Jackie Webb, later took over her role when she was unable to carry on her prayer ministry.
Jackie went on to form CARE in 1991. Read Jackie Webb’s account of our beginnings in her 2004 letter addressed to past President Michael Png.
We were inaugurated as a lay apostolate ministry of the Catholic Church on 6 June 1992 with the approval of His Grace, Archbishop Emeritus Gregory Yong.
CARE was registered as a society in 2004
In the first ten years we did ward work. However this had to cease with the onset of SARS in 2002. From then on, we switched our efforts to caring for the homeless and the destitute who were not hospitalised. After a number of temporary locations, we established the first CARE Shelter at 11 Hillside Drive, the former premises of St Joseph’s Convent, in 2005.
We then moved to 43 Toa Payoh Rise, with the kind permission of the Good Shepherd Sisters, in 2006.
In 2008, we initiated our Non-Resident Support Programme, targeting at PLWHA women (and their children). In the same year, we started our Schools Outreach programme, initially targeting Catholic secondary schools.
Following a strategic review in 2009, in 2010 we initiated a Befrienders Programme, aimed at providing a structured framework within which Volunteers may befriend and help our resident and non-resident PLWHAs, and eventually those in our Follow Up programme. We also adopted Advocacy as a major thrust of our work, to help create better understanding, compassion and acceptance of PLWHAs, by families, employers and society.
In 2010, CARE was granted IPC (Institution of Public Character) status effective 1 November 2010 for 2 years.
In 2014, we moved to our existing premises, when the land at Toa Payoh Rise was acquired by the government for national development.