Caritas Latvia was founded by the Latvian Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Churches in 2004. It had been operational since 1990 as a relief organisation within the Catholic Church in Latvia, but it had no official recognition by the Bishops’ Conference. Today, it is part of the international structure of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europa.
The mission of Caritas Latvia is to promote the Caritas network in Latvia as well as idea of volunteering, especially among the youth. Caritas Latvia aims to assist socially marginalized people; creates Carita’s groups in Catholic parishes by leading educational seminars for volunteers and those who wish to start this service. Caritas Latvia tries to emphasize the spiritual side of Carita’s service by providing spiritual formation – retreats and pilgrimage for those engaged in the service.
Caritas Latvia programmes also give a special attention to children in orphanages as they provide both materials and the intangibles such as a loving, caring family atmosphere.
Caritas Latvia promotes voluntarism to empower youth and instill confidence that through social service they can make a difference in their communities.
Since 2005, Caritas Latvia has joined the Equal Project “Step by Step” initiated by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Latvia. The task of Caritas Latvia in the project is to develop skills for asylum seekers to assist them in integrating into society in Latvia and entering the job market. The Equal Project was the first serious encounter of Caritas Latvia with the migration problem in Latvia; since then, work with asylum seekers and illegal immigrants has become a priority for Caritas Latvia.
Caritas Latvia main office is in Riga and employs a staff and volunteers that serve 4 Caritas diocesan and public social institutions spread throughout Latvia.
Caritas Latvia is one of the over 160 members of Caritas Internationalis, and also a member of Caritas Europa.
Fr. Ingars Stepkans
Maza Pils iela 2a
Katolu iela 14
LV 1003 Riga
Telephone: +371 29 55 21 02