Mobilized to limit the effects of the crisis

Thursday 11 June 2020

Caritas Luxembourg presented its annual report 2019 on Thursday, 11 June. While there were many challenges in 2019, Caritas Luxembourg expects to have to intervene even more in the months and years to come due to the economic and social consequences of the Coronavirus crisis.

At the national level, the social inclusion of both refugees and migrants, homeless people, but also children and young people, remains the primary objective of Caritas Luxembourg. 2019 thus saw the launch of the Maison "Le Temps des Femmes" which enables refugee and migrant women to break out of their isolation, as well as the creation of the LogIS unit (Logement ppour l'Inclusion sociale) which combines social support for families, housing management and integration through employment. With regard to the homeless, with the entry into force of the REVIS, new activities for inclusion through employment and occupation have come into being, including the "Gardening" project in Kopstal. Also noteworthy for homeless people are the sewage problems that have forced Caritas Luxembourg to rehouse all the residents of the Centre Ulysse. The search for alternatives for re-housing was very difficult. Finally, the role of child and youth care facilities, be it crèches, shelters, youth houses, is crucial if children and young people are to find their place in our society. In 2019, three additional maisons-relais have been taken over by Caritas Luxembourg and the Young Caritas offer has been reviewed so that the solidarity volunteering of young people is at the heart of its action. In 2019, Caritas Luxembourg helped more than 25,000 people in Luxembourg, 56% of whom are children and young people.

At the international level, with conflicts getting deeper and deeper, Caritas Luxembourg has unfortunately had to focus most of its resources again on emergency aid. For example, Caritas Luxembourg has been alongside the displaced Syrians north of Idlib, the Venezuelan refugees, the displaced Burmese and emergency aid has also been provided to the victims of Cyclone Idai which hit Mozambique. With all these emergencies, it is important for Caritas Luxembourg to focus its cooperation efforts on a few countries and a few themes. This concentration continued in 2019. Caritas Luxembourg helped more than 100,000 people at the international level through 80 projects in 14 countries for some 17.3 million euros.

To carry out all these activities, both at the national and international level, Caritas Luxembourg can count on the commitment of its 782 staff members and 976 volunteers, as well as on the support of its many donors, supporters and funders. At the press presentation of the annual report, Caritas Luxembourg warmly thanked them all. Without them, Caritas Luxembourg would not have been able to achieve all that could be achieved in 2019.

This support will be even more valuable in the coming months as the first report of the helpline set up by Caritas Luxembourg to help people affected by the economic consequences of the Covid-19 crisis shows that many people will find it difficult to make ends meet in the coming months. In the last two months, 380 people have contacted the helpline for financial help, most of them under 40 years old (57%). 69% had never needed social assistance before. While almost all sectors of activity are concerned, those in the restaurants, the self-employed (artists, taxi drivers, etc.) and the cleaning sector are particularly represented. A total of 642 people have been helped to date by the helpline either through information (16%) and/or redirection to another competent body (41%) and/or through punctual financial assistance (18% help of more than 300 euros, 20% less than or equal to 300 euros) and/or through access to social grocery stores (15%) to do their shopping. In 122 cases, a reorientation towards the social offices was possible. Collaborations were also initiated with other public bodies or associations. At the end of May, 115,509 euros were given as direct aid to families and individuals, of which 30% were for the purchase of food, 28% for essential current expenses, 20% for rent, 16% for electricity and communication bills, and 6% for health expenses. It should be noted that of the 642 people who received assistance, 226 were children.

For Caritas Luxembourg, which, through Caritas Jeunes & Familles, manages numerous day and night care structures for children and young people, it is difficult to make a general evaluation of how children have experienced the Coronavirus health crisis. In the day-care structures (crèches, day-care centres, day homes and youth centres), contact with the children and their parents was maintained throughout the period of confinement. In addition, two childcare facilities remained open and accommodated the children of care staff throughout the containment period. The recovery on 25 May also took place under good conditions, with the children quickly returning to their previous rhythm. In the life groups that take in children and adolescents with family difficulties, the confinement went very well, contrary to what one might have thought, also thanks to the help of many staff from other structures (crèches, relay houses, youth centres, Young Caritas, etc.) who were willing to help in the care that is provided 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Finally, the Streetwork has also worked hard to be at the side of young people on the street, not to mention the exceptional mobilisation of Kanner-JugendTelefon throughout the period of confinement.

These support structures will continue to be attentive to children and young people because if the latter did not make themselves heard much during the confinement while they were on the front line, it is feared that they will be most affected by the consequences of the Coronavirus crisis, when their families will be made vulnerable by the economic and social effects that are beginning to be felt. Caritas Luxembourg will pay special attention to these children and young people living in these families.

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