At the start of the 20th century, Caritas Austria began its mission to help those most in need. Their first actions were to give food and clothing to alleviate the suffering of the people in the First World War.
More than a century later, Caritas Austria’s broad scope of programmes underscores their enduring commitment to prevent and ease the hardships of the poor. Initiatives include disaster relief, HIV and AIDs awareness campaigns, homecare for the disabled, shelters for the homeless and single mothers, counseling and support centres for people struggling with substance abuse, and occupational projects for the unemployed.
At the heart of the work is a wide-range of 1,000 social assistance programmes that target the poor and vulnerable in Austria. Their social services provide a range of services that includes providing supplemental food vouchers for single mothers, covering energy costs for the elderly, finding homes for abandon children, establishing 36 institutions’ for the homeless and 877 working places for the unemployed.
In recent times, the agency launched the Caritas Domestic Campaign in 2012 to focus on the dire situation of children, women and men living in the country. The campaign provided €2.74 million of supplies in the form of clothes and heating materials to help people manage through the cold Austrian winters.
Overseas, Caritas Austria has played a key role in emergency relief and developmental work as they were engaged in over 580 aid projects in 2012. Among their activities includes deployment of food, blankets, mattresses and seeds as well as fishing tools to thousands victims following tropical storms in the Philippines.
Complementing their comprehensive emergency assistance are health protection campaigns that raises HIV awareness in Africa and a vaccination campaign for children in North Korea to combat meningitis.
Caritas Austria headquarters is located in Vienna. Caritas Austria employs a staff of 13,000 staff and 35,000 volunteers. The Secretariat from Vienna coordinates the work and supports the tasks of 9 Caritas archdiocesan and diocesan offices in the country.
Caritas Austria is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europa, often collaborating with members on overseas emergency and developmental programmes; such as Caritas Somalia to provide humanitarian aid to internally displaced people in Somalia and Kenya severely affected by drought and conflict.See more