Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation

by Secours Catholique - Caritas France
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Support most vulnerable & fight against isolation
Inauguration of Pas de Calais Fraternibus nov. 22
Inauguration of Pas de Calais Fraternibus nov. 22

On December 4, 2018, a special kind of bus - the Fraternibus - hit the roads of Eure (27). Its objective: to create “social bonds” and reach out to isolated people.

Criss-crossing the remote villages of the Eure department, the Fraternibus stops on market places, extends its awning, pulls out tables and chairs. Some just come to share a coffee, or talk about the little hassles that can darken a daily life. The goal is to break isolation, to reach out to people. This is a "reverse mobility" project, our volunteers come to meet the population rather than the other way around.

Because some people do not dare to cross the threshold of our receptions. Others do not have the opportunity to come to our reception desks.

Indeed, having a personal mean of transport to get around has become essential in almost all areas of the country, but particularly in rural areas. Finding a job, healthcare, food, access to services and institutions, today very often requires a vehicle. But the expenditure is high, it is around 3,800 euros per car, per year and represents 12% of annual household expenditure, and much more when the budget is reduced.

In rural areas, the use of the car is made essential by the dispersion of areas of activity, occupation, housing and by the weakness of transport services other than school. The distances are too great to reach health services, shops, schools and cultural access services. Public transport is insufficient, with an inadequacy of public structures.

Situations where mobility is either impossible, difficult or excessively costly in relation to the available budget are quite common. However, more than yesterday, the ability to move is an essential condition for integration, for the construction of satisfactory life trajectories and diversified social ties. Mobility is no longer just a choice, it has become a necessity. Faced with this imperative, many are poorly equipped, or less well equipped than others.


The recent health crisis has worsened many situations experienced by the most vulnerable people. This degraded context makes the difficulties due in particular to isolation, digital divide and mobility problems in certain territories all the more significant.
When digital proves to be a little more like the priority channel for access to public and private services every day, more than 20% of French people remain poorly connected, if not at all. Thus, young people with or without a diploma, low-income households, disabled or elderly people, who constitute the bulk of the “poorly connected”, become the new excluded from our society. The health crisis has led to a forced march to digital tools.

 

Our “Fraternibus” program is part of this “reverse mobility” approach. We want to meet the most vulnerable people, to allow them to benefit from an open, mobile place, where they can settle down, express themselves and be listened to, seek with others solutions to "live better" and deal with the challenges that come their way on a daily basis. Since 2018, a dozen of new Fraternibus have been launched to respond to the mobility difficulties encountered. Today, these Fraternibus seem to us to be particularly relevant for reaching out to those who cannot travel and thus lifting the constraints of reception in a physical place linked to the health crisis we are going through.


The main specificity of our action therefore lies in the fact of using an itinerant vehicle in order to reach invisible audiences in priority neighborhoods and in rural areas. Each vehicle can be fitted out, designed in such a way as to allow the reception of people inside it (individual maintenance via the arrangement of tables). An equipment outside will be associated with it (barnum, tables, chairs) for meetings with several people. He will be able to park in markets, squares and other areas of passage.
The material conditions will make it possible to guarantee the reception of one to several people in strict compliance with the health measures in force: physical distance, access to protective equipment (masks, hydroalcoholic gel, etc.), groups not exceeding 6 people according to set instructions...


The purpose of this itinerant vehicle is not to make up for the lack of premises in the long term, but to promote the rapprochement of people, services, local actors... and to support the emergence of sustainable responses in terms of the fight against poverty.

One of the advantages of this mobile device lies in its evolutionary nature. Indeed, this project will be able to expand and develop over time, in order to adapt by setting up new activities according to the needs, opportunities and partnerships that can be built. In these movements, and in order to optimize the means of action, the vehicle can thus for example be added to a room, a place including a kitchen, or an outdoor space such as a garden.

The objectives of this program:

  • Break the isolation of people in precariousness: we want to create an unconditional welcoming space (households in great precariousness / invisible, in particular single-parent families, young people, people stabilized in a logic of survival with social minima, etc.) to promote expressing and listening to the needs of the people received and proposing, in conjunction with local partners, discussion times on topics such as food, health, care, culture, citizenship, etc.
  • Promote access to rights and fight against non-use: We offer support to support people received in their administrative procedures, identify situations of non-use of rights and services and initiate contact with different authorities...
  • Fight against the digital divide: the vehicle has the necessary equipment to allow the connection of several laptops or tablets (connections and internet access) to support people in precariousness faced with the dematerialization of administrative procedures. Workshops around digital access will be offered to allow those welcomed who so wish, to have support in order to acquire certain basic skills including: searching for information, creating and using an email address, communicating, using software, filling out a form, etc.
  • Promote collective actions: We will offer time for discussions allowing meetings with families through cooperative games, meeting places in the presence of health professionals, leisure time, etc.

By the end of 2023, we plan to put 10 Fraternibus into service in France, for example in Toulouse (31), Gironde (33) or even in Guadeloupe and we hope to meet more of 10,000 people.

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Volunteers alongside the victims
Volunteers alongside the victims

Fires have been ravaging the Landes forest for several days between Bordeaux and the Atlantic Ocean. In the south-west of France, nearly 20,000 hectares of pines went up in smoke, several campsites and houses were destroyed. Mor than 34,000 people, residents or vacationers, had to leave their homes due to the two fires in Teste-de-Buch and Landiras, which did not cause any casualties.

About 2,000 firefighters are currently mobilized on the ground. Volunteers from Secours Catholique in Gironde are present to support firefighters and affected populations, mainly through logistical assistance. Accompaniment and listening to victims will be carried out in a second step with the establishment of psychological cells.

"Today, what has been accomplished by the volunteers of Arcachon consists of pure and hard logistics: the volunteers have been called upon since the start of the fires to prepare and serve meals to the victims, and to support the firefighters who are fighting against fire. There are no real logistics to help them”, explains Emmanuel Delfino, Secours Catholique employee in the Arcachon basin. However, he notes “an outpouring of solidarity and generosity ” from the start of the fires on July 12. 

Indeed, our volunteers immediately organized themselves to serve them meals. At La Teste-de-Buch, the outpouring of generosity was great: bakers donated bread and our volunteers made sandwiches to distribute to victims and firefighters mobilized on site. And in Landiras, in the south of Gironde, Secours Catholique teams provided sheets, clothing from the solidarity shop and hygiene products to the victims who were accommodated by the public authorities.

 

PRESENT AT THE TIME OF RECONSTRUCTION
According to firefighters, it could still be several weeks before the fire is completely extinguished. The damage is likely to be colossal. The tourist economy has been hit to the core! Seasonal workers have lost their jobs, campsites have been burned down, residents are already worried about the upcoming summer seasons.

Secours Catholique will be there to help the victims and heal the wounds in Gironde. “With our Fraternibus, we will again meet the neighborhoods of Teste-de-Buch where there is also a lot of precariousness. New problems will appear, that's for sure..

We will be there when the time comes for reconstruction in the coming months.

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Caritas Internationalis network - of which Secours Catholique is a member - is united facing the events affecting Ukraine. It mobilizes to ensure protection and humanitarian aid to the suffering population. Since the beginning of the hostilities, Secours Catholique - Caritas France has been in continuous contact with Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis to participate in this mobilization in the most adapted and efficient way. At operational level, on the recommendation of Secours Catholique - Caritas France, a coordination has been set up between national Caritas organisations, led by Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis, to provide :

  • support to Ukrainian Caritas (Caritas Ukraine and Caritas-Spes Ukraine) on the humanitarian needs caused by the conflict ;
  • support to neighbouring Caritas that are on the front line to welcome refugees, 3,489,644 people as of March 20, 2022 according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

 

Medium and long term humanitarian AID from Secours Catholique – Caritas France

Together with our partners, we are studying the possible responses to accompany population in the face of migratory and economic consequences, according to the needs and their evolution. We are collaborating with Caritas Europa, its network, and in particular border Caritas to define a strategy and implement actions. 

With Ukrainian Caritas for emergency needs:

  • basic needs (food, health, hygiene kits, clothing, night shelters) 
  • psychological support

 

With border Caritas (Poland, Slovakia and Romania) for refugees:

  • setting up of food distribution points 
  • reuniting families
  • accompaniment to registration by local authorities 
  • transport of women and children to the centers or to host families
  • psychological support

 

In France, once the government protocols will be known:

  • emergency accommodation in connection with the public facilities
  • fraternal accompanying

 

 

Update on the work of Ukrainian and border caritas as of March 21, 2022

In Ukraine, Caritas Ukraine continues its work almost 24/7. In addition to the emergency relief, staff coordinate volunteers who produce humanitarian kits, visit people in need, and take hundreds of calls a day. 400 tons of goods (medical materials, medicine, food, hygiene products, tents) have been distributed to almost 70,000 people. Caritas Ukraine is intensifying its operations and recruiting staff.

In Poland, there are 2,083,854 refugees from Ukraine (UNHCR data as of 21 March 2022). Thousands of people are still arriving. "Tents of hope" have been set up at the border crossings of Przemysl, Zosin, Hrebenne, Lubaczów and Dorohusk. Refugees have the opportunity to rest, receive food, tea, coffee, warm clothes, hygiene items and medicine.

In Moldova, 365,197 people have arrived from Ukraine. This figure includes those remaining in Moldova and those crossing into another country (UNHCR data as of 20 March 2022). Caritas Moldova is providing a clean and safe place for Ukrainian families. Caritas is also planning a large-scale project that will register refugees for cash assistance, social services, and additional needs they may have.

In Romania, there are 535,461 refugees from Ukraine (UNHCR data as of March 20, 2022). Caritas Romania continues to set up refugee centers in various cities to provide shelters, meals and transportation. Caritas also alerts refugees to remain vigilant about those who offer transportation and private accommodation to refugees. There are signs of active organized crime on both sides of the border and the risk of human trafficking is high. Many families continue their journey after one or more nights at the Caritas center to stay with relatives or travel to another country. In Sighetu Marmatia, a social center offers counseling, internet access and access to a laundromat. In Bucharest, a Caritas team accompanies refugees (people who were foreigners in Ukraine and are trying to return home) from the train station to the embassy, to shelters or to the airport.

In Slovakia, the number of refugees is estimated at 250,036 (UNHCR data as of 20 March 2022). Caritas staff and volunteers in four dioceses are trying to coordinate their response to this migration crisis.

Caritas Czech Republic is also focusing on helping Ukrainian refugees. The number of refugees in the country is around 200,000 and this number is expected to increase. Before the crisis, the Czech Republic had many immigrants from Ukraine on its territory. Now, efforts are being made to facilitate the reunification of families. Caritas Czech Republic distributes food and clothing, but also other items such as cell phone chargers, cell phones and SIM cards. It also helps refugees find safe housing. The Caritas team also helps refugees apply for visas and other documents they need. 

Caritas Hungary, in cooperation with the Caritas Diocese of Nyíregyházi and the Caritas Diocese of Debrecen-Nyíregyháza, welcomes refugees at the BarabásMezokaszony border crossing. There, people fleeing Ukraine can rest in a warm place until relatives come pick them up or they reach a reception center. The number of refugees from Ukraine who have crossed into Hungary has reached 312,120. 

Meanwhile, Caritas Bulgaria staff and volunteers, through its three diocesan offices in Sofia, Rusa and Vitana, are assisting the arriving families, women and children with shelter, food and hygiene items, and psychosocial support.

 

In France - Creation of a platform to support citizen mobilization for the welcomE of refugees

With our partners Jesuit for Refugees France (JRS France), Fédération de l'Entraide Protestante (FEP), Service National Mission et Migrations, we have decided to create a « Platform to support citizen mobilization for the welcome of refugees ». This platform, by pooling our strengths and skills, aims at supporting and providing advice and tools to all those who wish to invest themselves concretely in these actions of solidarity and mutual aid.

This platform has three main missions

  • A "Resources" function: development, sharing and provision of tools, reference documents, etc. for our respective networks;
  • An "Operational support to the action of our networks" function. It will be a question of accompanying the "citizen mobilization", in the reception and the accompaniment, mainly by the coordination and the linking of the actors on the territories;
  • An "Advocacy" function to be exercised with the public authorities, but also in support and advice for the advocacy action of our networks in the territories.

 

This platform, constituted by our four associations and services, will be open to other partners who share the same principles of action, which are as follows

  • Complement the actions of public authorities, but not replace or parallel them,
  • Conceive welcome within the framework of a partnership and a global accompanying of exiled and refugee people, integrating the notion of duration,
  • Support and participate in initiatives that allow the articulation of actors (State, local authorities, social operators and services, associations and citizen initiatives, church services, social partners, etc.),
  • Guarantee that these actions are unconditional, refusing any discrimination based on origin, religion or any other identity criteria,
  • Ensure that the natural emotion and solidarity that develops in favor of people fleeing the war in Ukraine does not develop to the detriment of other people in precarious situations, whether they are migrants or not, regardless of their origin. To be an actor of peace and fraternity, refusing all discrimination and stigmatization.

 

For the moment, we are in the middle of the structuring phase of this platform. We lack information to elaborate in a few days precise tools and references. The current events are indeed taking an exceptional turn and this invites us to carefully build a system over time. 

 

The uncertainties are of different kinds:

On the number of people who will be received in France. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) predicts that there will be 5 to 6 million refugees in the coming weeks. If most of them are currently in neighboring countries (Poland, Romania, etc.), it is likely that each European Union member country will contribute to this reception. Even if France receives only 5%, this would represent 250,000 people, a figure on a scale not seen since the end of the Algerian war.

There are also uncertainties about the duration of this exile. Unfortunately, it is likely that the people who have fled will not be able to leave again soon. The organization of this reception must therefore be anticipated and planned for the long term.

The European Union and France have decided to activate the « Temporary Protection » directive dating from 2001, which has never been used. This directive, which was subsequently transcribed into the legislation of each country, provides for very specific measures, outside the usual asylum application and refugee reception system. In France, the practical details (rights and conditions of access to rights) and the administrative organization (between ministries, prefectures, local authorities) are not yet sufficiently known. The central administrations convene meetings on an almost daily basis, and the overall architecture has yet to be refined.

 

We hope to be able to develop the first tools to be distributed in the coming days.

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Breakfast at the day center in Metz
Breakfast at the day center in Metz

Support for people on the street : our mode of action 

The diversity of our actions carried out with people on the street responds both to the diversity of situations encountered and to what is possible to do locally. These actions are in addition to the responses provided by our associative partners or by the public authorities. To best respond to the distress of the very excluded people we meet, our teams in the field have deployed several modes of action : 

  • Work in the street : to be present with people on the street who do not or no longer attend the usual reception and accommodation facilities, 
  • Day care centers : offer listening, guidance and, as far as possible, long-term support, 
  • Accommodation : Since 1990, the management of our large establishments has been entrusted to our daughter association, Cités Caritas. Since then, Secours Catholique has continued to manage many accommodation facilities with lower capacity (on average 10 beds). 

Three benchmarks guide our actions:

  • Go towards: identify and be present alongside people who do not or no longer attend the usual systems,
  • Adapt our interventions by always seeking a reciprocal relationship over time, if necessary; Indeed, the exchanges and the sharing of experience between volunteers and welcomed are a richness which should allow each person met to become an actor of his change,
  • Cope with: facilitate the expression of people's potential by taking into account their real needs (expressed or not), no longer looking at people in the dark, through their lacks.

 

The solidarity expressed by our teams of volunteers is civic, it corresponds to a desire for openness to others, in particular to the most disadvantaged, with the aim of building together a fraternal and just society. Our volunteer teams are professionals of the link and decline a range of relational modes:

-         The personalized welcome in a friendly and collective setting, or in the street, through discussions and listening, gives full place to the person (informal relationship);

-         Participatory activities allow personal and collective expression and reinvigorate each person;

-        Individual support, over time if necessary, is a formal relationship with objectives shared between the support and the supported: access to rights, but also individual projects, with the involvement of partners if necessary. The accompanying volunteer works in a team.

 

Focus on day care centers

In small rural communities as well as in medium-sized towns and large urban areas, Secours Catholique has created places to offer a first reception and support the various requests of people on the street in order to facilitate their daily lives.

More than 70 day centers are open to them throughout France. In Paris, Avignon, or even Marseilles, these people find landmarks and a friendly welcome. It begins with listening, guidance, and sometimes extends to long-term support to help them access their rights: domiciliation, search for accommodation, procedures to benefit from social services ... At the same time, these receptions offer services (showers and dry cleaning), meals and various cultural, educational and sports workshops. 

These receptions are often a landmark for people in a wandering situation. Even in the event of a temporary break in the relationship, the loyalty of the relationship is a principle. They facilitate meetings, personal relationships of trust. Day care centers are fertile ground for considering the always delicate transition from an informal relationship to a formal relationship, from a one-off relationship to a scheduled relationship, thought through over time. It then becomes possible to set out together.

 

Jean Rodhain day care center in Metz (57)

Located on the heights of Metz, in the city center, the Jean Rodhain day center is one of the 70 day centers of Secours Catholique in France. Created in 1984, it offers three poles : 

  • A catering center, 5 days a week, with in addition to the traditional breakfast offered in the other day centers, a “homemade” meal.
  • A support and access to rights center (without forgetting access to hygiene with 3 showers).
  • A collective actions center for social remobilization with expression workshops (games, football, cinema, exhibitions) and cultural and leisure workshops (speaking, painting, writing).

It is a real living and sharing place and where you can meet many nationalities. The people we welcome all have in common: a difficult, precarious, even marginal, living situation. For breakfasts, many people show up after a night in a squat or in the street, in a car park, a cellar, a stairwell or a garage.

Day care activities have been heavily impacted by the confinements that punctuated 2020 and 2021. However, despite this context of exceptional health crisis, day care has not, at any time, ceased its actions with the most destitute. And this by reinventing the methods of reception and care.

In addition, still linked to the health crisis, we noted:

  • A huge decrease in the number of arrivals of people seeking asylum in Moselle (55).
  • The closure of our social restaurant since March 16, 2020,
  • The establishment of a binding health protocol limiting the number of people in the structure,
  • The decrease in the number of volunteers: due to age, health problems and / or people who wanted to withdraw; the number of volunteers decreased from 75 to 25.

The collective workshops were largely impacted by a forced shutdown and then by an interruption of several months. To date, some collective workshops have resumed with the observation of a drop in attendance, but all the same with the desire to continue to move forward together, to meet and recreate links. The isolation that has impacted us all proves the essential nature of these living spaces and places of speech.

 

In 2020, 886 people were welcomed at the Jean Rodhain reception.

 

The emergence of a new day reception, where people from the street are actors

Since 1984, Secours Catholique has rented the premises in which it carries out its work at 9 rue de la Glacière in Metz. These premises are now dilapidated, unsuitable and too small. In addition, the owner of the property has decided to sell it. The day care center must therefore leave the premises before June 30, 2022 at the latest.

The Secours Catholique delegation wishes to take advantage of this imposed change of location, to offer a new welcome where all local partners (associations, public, private) can make their skills available.

 

The new project ? 

Our future place of reception, the Maison des Solidarités, will be used to welcome people on the street, isolated people, men or women, often in great precariousness, migrants, newcomers, people seeking asylum or awaiting regularization, people with breach of rights following personal accidents ...

The place is intended to be an unconditional, benevolent, warm, family and human place of welcome above all intended for people who have suffered breaks in their lives, who are in pain, who have fallen into various addictions and who will find there, a place to settle down and to rebuild. A place of listening, rest, support, networking, guidance ...

Of course, it will be possible to find basic services such as showers, a laundry, a catering service (breakfast and lunch) but the people welcomed can also benefit from personalized support and participate in remobilization workshops. This involves welcoming 80 people per day on average.

The ambition is to be able to offer actions on atypical schedules also at the end of the afternoon and in the evening, on weekends as soon as the teams of volunteers can be formed. It will then be considered to respond to a long-identified need to offer meals on Saturday noon or Sunday noon. It may be possible to bring in groups made up of actors (different associations, different neighborhoods, different horizons) ready to enter into a partnership with Secours Catholique to organize meals. It will be possible to allow the solidarity engagement of new actors, working people willing to volunteer on time slots compatible with their job.

Finally, the welcome will be used by all the partners with which Secours Catholique has been working for several years in Metz : UDAF 57, CCAS, Médecins du Monde, AIEM, CMSEA, RESAM associations, etc. The objective is to allow associative partners to find such or such person accompanied either for consultation meetings, assemblies, conferences-debates. It is also planned to explore with the CCAS of the City of Metz the possibility of imagining a strengthened partnership. 

 

An innovative project:

  •  Empowering the people welcomed: The new daytime reception of Secours Catholique will be based on the mobilization of the people themselves, to bring this space to life that meets the basic needs of people on the street.
  • Shared governance: The social life council of the Accueil de Jour, the steering body of the reception area, will be made up of equal numbers of people welcomed and volunteers.
  • 15 social remobilization workshops (catering, cinema, French lessons, writing workshop, speaking workshop - popular university, painting, games, bicycle repair, computers, cooking, walking, culture and museum visits, football, work and DIY) will offer to those welcomed to regain self-confidence, to discover their talents, to accept a team life and the constraints of the collective, to take responsibilities and to project themselves into the future. These workshops may evolve over time according to the wishes and possibilities of the people who will make up the groups.
  • A welcome open to dialogue and mediation to discuss and think together about future actions: with the inhabitants and citizens of the city of Metz but also with traders; to better collaborate with the police services on issues of security and the presence of marginalized groups on public roads; to be responsible interlocutors in dialogue with elected officials of the City or Metz Métropole on all questions relating to people on the street.
  •  Social catering that favors short circuits: Work in conjunction with local producers to imagine how to develop healthy and local food while controlling costs in our desire to offer decent access to food to the poorest people.
  •  A place for training, reflection and action: This place will offer training, information and awareness sessions (on addictions, violence, risky behavior, health, etc.) conferences-debates, consultation meetings in the heart of the city. This place aims to bring together actors who do not know each other to make them want to cooperate with people in precariousness: the business world, the world of research and university, the world of solidarity, elected officials, major social protection institutions, the world of health, municipal and national police, with people who experience poverty and who can become the primary actors in this area.

 

We are now looking for the premises that will allow us to set up this House of Solidarity in Metz. The location in the city center and the necessary surface area are important criteria which limit the possibilities. Moreover, the beliefs linked to the action of a day care center as well as the associated nuisances for the neighborhood make this research all the more difficult.

The very nature of this project prompted our Metz team to think about experimenting with a mediator position to carry out the missions of our day reception. This mediator is responsible for reaching out to people in the street in the neighborhood, reassuring residents, traders and residents about the presence of the public in the street and identifying people in precariousness to provide all assistance and all guidance needed. He will ensure the logistics to bring meals or packed lunches and food packages to any person reported in connection with the network of partners (isolated people, people sick with COVID 19 or others without support capacity).

For this unprecedented experiment and given the challenges linked to the successful implementation of this new day care center, the delegation wished to favor applications from people with experience of life in the street, to initiate a peer relationship. on a peer-to-peer basis with the people encountered.

The public authorities, very interested in this experiment, have agreed to finance this post of mediator for 12 months from 2022.

 

The operating expenses of the Jean Rodhain day care center in 2020 were  113,540 €: 

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A successful back-to-school with essential school supplies and sport activities for disadvantaged children of Seine Saint Denis, Ile de France, France

 

About the poverty in the Seine Saint Denis area

With 1.6 million residents spread over 40 cities, the department of Seine-Saint-Denis is the poorest in France, with a poverty rate of 33.7% (according to Insee). Paradoxically, it is located in the richest region in France, Ile-de-France (IDF) region, which accounts for 31% of national wealth in terms of GDP. This contrast reflects a very unequal reality. Youth is also a particularity of this district: Seine Saint Denis is indeed the youngest French department with 35.6% of its population aged between 0 and 24 years old in 2021

 

Secours Catholique in Seine Saint Denis district has 549 volunteers in 24 local teams and employs 14 people. They support 45 000 vulnerable people, families and children each year.

 

Since the pandemic and the different lockdowns, situation of people in precariousness has intensified. According to Oxfam, women, especially single mothers, young people and precarious workers are the most affected by this crisis and yet the ones who have been forgotten in the French recovery plan. Indeed in France less than 1% of the economic recovery plan is devoted to the campaign against poverty.

Secours Catholique in Seine-Saint-Denis district receives many irregular families whose children cannot receive assistance from social services. These families struggle with the different expenses for the start of the school year. Children are held in an exclusionary status when unable to provide the school supplies requested by the educational structures. Covid-19 crisis and its economic consequences had a significant impact on the budgets of vulnerable families supported by Secours Catholique. The purchase of material needed for a year of school is even difficult in 2021 than ever for them.

 

Our response to this situation: support under-resourced students and sport activities for children in need

Based on the principle that education is a right for all and a very important for these children, yet the beginning a of new year of school represents a significant cost in vulnerable families’ finances, Secours Catholique in Seine-Saint-Denis district decided to implement a variety of actions to support these children and their parents :

  • Since 2012 every summer the Secours Catholique’ volunteers examine the situation of every family supported by the organisation and define with them the different actions / means to access their civil rights. This support has to purpose to help the families to become more independent and integrated into our society. With this support families get access to national school grant from social services. Families that don’t received this will receive a financial aid, a culture voucher to enable them to provide materials to their children for school. Thanks to this help, kids can start a new year with dignity.

 

  • In addition to the culture vouchers allocated to families in an illegal situation, the volunteers set some short-term shops open to all and allowing the purchase of school supplies at a symbolic price. They are run by volunteer teams. Families can choose by themselves what they want just like in a traditional shop. This model reflects the organisation’s commitment to help while giving the dignity of choosing school supplies for their children by themselves. Special attention is given to families with no financial resources who are guided by volunteers. In this case, the volunteers' insight and their study of every individual situation may lead to the granting of vouchers.

 

  • In 2021, Secours Catholique in Seine Saint Denis would also like to focus on the well-being of the children supported by the local teams through sport activities. Physical activity promotes growth and healthy development and is a real agent for cohesion and integration. By developing pupils’ physical conditions they will increase their capacity for concentration, decision-making and self-discipline. These are all important qualities that promote good school attendance and a healthy lifestyle.

With this project for the new school year in september 2021, children will be able to obtain a financial grant to help to cover the cost of a sports licence with a club. Our volunteers noticed that sport is a recurrent demand (and can even be seen as necessity) from children, but their parents cannot always satisfy it because of financial reasons.

Dozens of volunteers are mobilised for providing:

  • Basic, essential school supplies.
  • Culture vouchers for the new school year
  • Participation in sports licences and fees
  • Quality sports facilities.

 

How many people impacted by the project ?

We estimate approximately that 800 children will be concerned this year by the short-term shops.

We also estimate that 400 children will concerned by the culture vouchers and 100 by the sports licences and supplies.

 

Planning of the project:

  •  May : development of the project with staff, volunteers and beneficiaries
  • June : communication campaign / Drafting of the logistical plan the shops
  • August : opening of the first shops
  • October : monitoring and evaluation of the project

 

 The cost of this project amounted to € 43 260 in 2021


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Organization Information

Secours Catholique - Caritas France

Location: Paris - France
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @caritasfrance
Project Leader:
Thomas AUGER
Digital Fundraising Manager
Paris, France
$16,397 raised of $85,000 goal
 
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