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Always combine the professional and the human

Tuesday 29 September 2020

A few days before his new professional challenge, Philippe Streff, Director at Caritas Luxembourg, talks about the reasons for his choice and his 12 years spent at Caritas Luxembourg.

Why this choice?

I chose to leave this position for two main reasons. The first is that after twelve years at Caritas Luxembourg, I simply want to do something new. I've been through all the files and internal mobility is quite limited when you're in a management position.

The second reason is that I feel that I have used all my ideas to develop Caritas Luxembourg. It is now time for a new person to come in with his energy, his way of seeing things, his ideas and continue to move Caritas Luxembourg forward.

Doesn't your departure also represent a difficulty for Caritas Luxembourg?

On the contrary, every change represents an opportunity to be seized! Moreover, the organisation of Caritas Luxembourg does not rely on me alone. We are privileged to have competent, motivated and committed staff. The important thing is that knowledge and know-how are shared with all these employees, in particular through our ISO standard. Activities can therefore continue without problems.

What is your view on the evolution of Caritas Luxembourg during the 12 years you have been there?

There is no photo between the Caritas of twelve years ago and the one of today. In terms of welcoming and accompanying refugees, we have developed our activities exponentially and have been able to further develop the recognition of the public authorities for the good work carried out. As for the creation of social grocery shops, they now enable thousands of families to feed themselves properly. In terms of housing, although the problem remains acute, Caritas Luxembourg has been able to increase the number of social housing units available for the vulnerable people it supports. At the international level, processes have been improved so that we can help disaster victims as quickly as possible. Finally, we have also established ourselves as trusted partners in the aid and development of many countries in the South. These are, of course, just some of the achievements of these 12 years, thanks to those involved in the projects.

Which projects are you particularly proud of?

I am proud of all the activities of Caritas Luxembourg! The success is that of the whole team. My role was only to give the chance for ideas from the field to take shape and become reality. Some projects, on the other hand, are particularly close to my heart because I contributed a little more from an operational point of view. There is, for example, the creation of the social grocery shops and the non-profit organisation "Spëndchen" with the Luxembourg Red Cross, the setting up of the welfare scheme ( and the introduction of social rental management within Caritas Luxembourg.

What is the message you would like to leave to the person who will succeed you?

I learned three things while working at Caritas Luxembourg. The first is that you must always rely on your common sense and follow the concerns of the people in need that you accompany. The second is that you must allow yourself to be advised by your collaborators. They are the ones who are in the field and who know the files best. Finally, the last one is that you must always try to reconcile the "professional" and the "human". This is all the more true when working for a cause as noble as that of Caritas Luxembourg.

And what message would you like to give to the staff of Caritas Luxembourg?

I would like to thank them all for the good collaboration, the trust and all the exchanges we have been able to have throughout the years. My position has enabled me to work closely or remotely with most of them. They do an excellent job at all levels, always with the only objective being the interest of people in need and drawing their energy from the certainty of doing something useful. Over the last few weeks I have received some nice testimonials of sympathy about my way of being and doing. This makes me very happy. I wish everyone at Caritas Luxembourg all the best.

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