human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Young Caritas Task Force

Bringing energy to the Caritas Europa network

“We do not only need to bring young people to Caritas but we need to bring Caritas to the youth.” This is the challenge that the newly established Young Caritas Task Force set during their first meeting on 19 March in the beautiful city of Ghent, Belgium, on the eve of Caritas Europa’s Consultative Forum.

The 10 members of the Task Force made use of the meeting to get to know each other better and to share experiences related to youth engagement in their countries and in different contexts. The group also learned more about the values and principles of Caritas and discussed about why youth engagement is so important for Caritas.

A clear message emerged from the discussions: Young people will be more likely to engage, if Caritas is able to create opportunities and formats which are suitable and attractive to them. If Caritas misses this opportunity, the youth will engage in other organisations.

As Caritas, though, we have a lot to offer, especially in what can we call “social education and reaching youth in all communities”.

Above all the education of youth from every social background has to be undertaken, so that there can be produced not only men and women of refined talents, but those great-souled persons who are so desperately required by our times.

§31 of Gaudium et Spes, Pope Paul VI, 07-12-1965

The Young Caritas Task Force engaged to continue to share good practices and experiences, to organise meeting spaces for young volunteers and to develop and implement a youth engagement strategy.

The Task Force also participated in the Consultative Forum, held in the same city on 20-21 March.

The main objective of the Consultative Forum was to ensure that the working structures of Caritas Europa work together for the common mission, to know and enrich each other’s work and to establish spaces of coordination, cooperation and synergies.

This Consultative Forum also marked the mid-term of the Strategic Framework 2020 of Caritas Europa. It was a unique opportunity to see the “bigger picture” of achievements and lessons learned since 2016 and the challenges on the road towards 2020. It provided the opportunity to meet friends from different areas of expertise contributing to the same goal: building fairer societies and strengthening Caritas’ capacities to play a decisive role in this process.

The Young Caritas Task Force contributed to the annual work plans of 2019 and 2020 and last but not least expressed its ultimate goal: “We would like each member of Caritas Europa to have Young Caritas by 2027”. They surely have the necessary enthusiasm and motivation to achieve this praiseworthy objective.

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Marc Somers

Institutional Development Director
Caritas Europa