Insights

Caritas international

A worldwide band of solidarity in refugee relief

Ein junge sitzt vor einer Mauer mit einem Loch.A carefree place to learn, play with other children and feel safe every day – for refugee children often an unattainable dream.Caritas international

It provides them with food and drink, household and hygiene articles, medical assistance and support with public authorities and legal matters. At Caritas international, the relief organisation of the German Caritas Association, almost 10 million euros in donations were collected for international refugee relief in 2015.

Worldwide, there were about 60 million people in flight. More than 12 million refugees were from Syria, most of whom sought protection in their home country as "internally displaced persons”. This group in particular has great difficulty obtaining humanitarian aid. Yet thanks to its local partner organisations, Caritas international was also able to reach internally displaced persons within Syria.

The helpers supply victims of war with food, hygiene and household articles and rent for accommodations, and enable children to attend school. Doctors, nurses and orderlies provide medical treatment under extremely difficult conditions, often at risk to their own lives. In order to help victims who are suddenly confronted with violent events as quickly as possible, Caritas Syria also set up an emergency assistance fund in 2015.

Aid for half a million Syrian refugees in camps of neighbouring states

Several million Syrian refugees have found protection in the neighbouring states Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In these countries too, Caritas international provides support, and since the conflict broke out in 2011 has helped more than 500,000 people. Part of the project budget is always used to support especially poor local families in order to counteract social tensions in the communities that take them in, and shape public opinion.

In Jordan, the national Caritas, with the support of Caritas international, provided 24,000 refugees with food and hygiene articles. In Lebanon, Caritas helped refugees get through the cold winter: with warm clothing, blankets, food, kerosene and vouchers for the acquisition of other necessities. In addition to short-term aid, Caritas employees support people in Lebanon and Jordan in the long term, e.g. with psychosocial counselling, rent subsidies and school projects for children.

Ein älterer Mann und ein kleiner Junge in einem Zelt.More than one million Syrian refugees found shelter in the Lebanon, whereas the country itself only has four million inhabitants.Caritas international/Christian Laas

Support on the long road to Europe

As a result of the hopeless situation in Syria and in neighbouring countries offering refuge, hundreds of thousand of people set forth on the long and dangerous journey to Europe in 2015. The received and receive support from Caritas on their way.

In Greece, for instance, two hotels were rented so that people who were ill or weak as well as women and children could recuperate from their trials for a few nights. Caritas helped more than 60,000 refugees in Lesbos. In Serbia, Caritas employees hand out food, hygiene articles and clothing and offer psychosocial counselling – more than 230,000 people there have received assistance. And also in Macedonia, more than 180,000 people were provided with food and clothing.

Help upon arrival in Germany

When refugees arrive in Germany, they are often provided with care by Caritas staff. About 100,000 volunteers and several thousand employees work in refugee relief programmes of the Church and its Caritas. They provide the people with the basics for everyday life, organise accommodations and help with integration, in short: they do what they can so that refugees can feel at home here.

It is up to Caritas to support refugees wherever they may be in need of help. There are only a few relief organisations worldwide that can accomplish this across borders. This solidarity is made possible by the support of the thousands of people who donate as well as by the indefatigable efforts of the many volunteers and employees helping worldwide.