Caritas Switzerland was founded in 1901 by Father Rufin Steimer who became its first president. It is one of the oldest Caritas, and a member of Caritas Internationalis.
Caritas Switzerland is a multidisciplinary, mutual assistance, charitable organisation with headquarters in Lucerne. Its main strategic goal is “to fight poverty with strong partnerships”. Today, Caritas Switzerland is active in Switzerland and more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe.
Around the world, Caritas provides emergency relief and contributes to post-disaster reconstruction. International cooperation is based on facilitating independence in the areas of combating hunger and food sovereignty; water and hygiene; human rights and social justice; humanitarian aid; and climate protection and crisis prevention.
Switzerland has 15 independent regional Caritas which implement social projects in their respective cantons. Together with Caritas Switzerland, the regional Caritas support the “Reduce poverty by half” action plan. Together with the network of regional Caritas, Caritas Switzerland provides specific assistance to disadvantaged people: families and single-parent families, the unemployed, and asylum seekers and refugees. Caritas Switzerland also organises appointments of volunteers for missions to support the terminally ill and mountain farmers.
The services provided by Caritas in Switzerland include: a debt advisory service; Caritas grocery stores, which sell common food items to people with low incomes; and a Culture Card, which enables people affected by poverty to attend cultural and sporting events at reduced prices.
Ms Mariangela Wallimann-Bornatico