Caritas (from the Latin caritas, meaning mercy, and self-sacrificing unconditional love) is an international network of charitable organizations which includes 165 national chapters. All Caritas chapters are active in developing civil society, fostering solidarity to protect human rights, and developing social policies.
The Mission of Caritas Ukraine is to develop philanthropy and to encourage community participation in charitable work according to Christian moral-ethical teachings.
The Goal of Caritas Ukraine is to develop and implement national programs that secure social assistance and support for the neediest segments of Ukrainian society, regardless of their nationality or religious beliefs.
The first Caritas organizations were established in Ukraine in 1992 after Ukraine declared independence. They were started by local Greek-Catholic communities. These organizations were mainly concerned with distributing humanitarian assistance. However, the needs of society forced Caritas’ activity in Ukraine to expand. This led to the formation of the international charitable foundation Caritas Ukraine.
Caritas Ukraine was established in 1994 to coordinate the efforts of charitable organizations run by local Ukrainian Greek-Catholic churches, to give their work international recognition, and to build cooperation with foreign Caritas chapters. Because of Caritas Ukraine’s efforts, the current network of local charitable organizations has developed and expanded; cooperation with foreign partners also continues to grow. In 1999 Caritas Ukraine became a full member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europe.
Because they were part of an international organization, Caritas Ukraine was named Best Representative of an International Charitable Foundation or Non-Governmental Organization in the 2008 nation-wide “Philanthropist of the Year” contest. The diversity and magnitude of Caritas Ukraine’s work, which serves absolutely all disadvantaged people, was cited as a particularly impressive factor. The Philanthropist of the Year competition again honoured Caritas Ukraine when they named it the Best Charitable Organization in 2009.
An important event for the Ukrainian Caritas family occurred when Andrij Waskowicz was elected vice-president of Caritas Europe. He was elected during the conference held from 1-3 June 2010 in Escorial, Spain. In addition to his new duties, Mr. Waskowicz continued to serve as President of Caritas Ukraine.
Caritas Ukraine, a nation-wide organization, is unique because of their experience and the scope of their work. Currently Caritas Ukraine has nearly 20 regional branches, employs almost 1000 professionals and volunteers to work on various projects. In recent years Caritas Ukraine’s annual budget has hovered around €1 million; 94-97% of this budget is funded from foreign sources.
Areas of Activity:
- Helping children, youth and families in crisis
- Caring for the children of labour migrants
- Rehabilitation and integration of the disabled youth
- Helping to treat children with cancer
- Home Care for lonely elderly individuals
- Medical advice on caring for sick person
- Loan out equipment for rehabilitation
- Palliative Care
- Prevention and caring for people living with HIV/AIDS
- Lobbying activity
- Repatriation and reintegration of Ukrainian migrants
- Prevention of human trafficking and providing assistance to human trafficking victims
- Distribution of humanitarian aid
- Running soup kitchens
- Helping and supporting prisoners
- Helping those with dependency issues
- Emergency assistance
- Charitable campaigns
- Development of the volunteer movement
Caritas Ukraine’s work stands out for the following reasons:
A) Comprehensive and systemic approach to resolving social problems—they consider all the problems that exist in society, their causes, effects and consequences.
B) Providing social and material assistance to people who have found themselves in crisis situations, including strictly educational and informational assitance. At the same time Caritas workers in Ukraine use scientifically approved approaches to complete their social work, conduct their own research of problems in the spheres of: domestic health care, migration, unemployment, homelessness, child abandonment, children living on the street and on integrating the disabled into mainstream society.
C) International Experience from the Caritas network which has an over 120 year history and unites 165 national organiations, several milion employees and volunteers. Caritas employees help over 25 million individuals in 200 countries annually. The exchange of experience, joint meetings and open communications with Caritas Ukraine are constant.
D) Partnership with domestic and international, foreign community and charitable organiations, state services and governmental structures. Our partners include Caritas Germany, Caritas Spain, Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Austria, Caritas France, Caritas Europe, Renovabis, United Nations Development Program, Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum, the Carpathian Foundation, the International Renaissance Foundation , the East Europe Foundation and others.
E) A Wide-reaching geographical network of Caritas Ukraine organiations (nearly 20 regional organizations in various regions of Ukraine), a large number of qualified employees and volunteers, their continued up to date education, their continuous exchange of information and their ability to undergo training at other organiations.
F) Work is carried out with Christian morals and values regardless of the religion, social status, ethnic background, sex or age of the individual who is asking for help.