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More and more people are on the move worldwide; an estimated 272 million people live outside their own country as migrants and refugees. Migration is for many a proven and good strategy to free themselves from poverty. However, vulnerable migrants and refugees live in insecurity and often lack the most basic essentials and opportunities to earn their own living. They are at constant risk of discrimination and exploitation. Caritas Switzerland strives to better protect migrants and refugees by covering their basic needs and enhancing their social and economic integration, so that they can contribute more to their independence and to development in the communities of origin, transit and destination.
Thanks to its asylum and integration work in Switzerland and abroad, Caritas Switzerland is ideally positioned on the theme of migration. It supports refugees, asylum seekers, displaced persons, migrants and host societies in Switzerland and worldwide with focused aid, political lobbying and advocacy work. It is present before emigration, during the journey, at arrival, during the integration process in Switzerland, and upon voluntary return.
On the one hand, Caritas Switzerland makes sure to improve the protection of migrants and refugees and assure their basic needs thanks to access to cash aid, goods and services. Food and water, accommodation, medical care, legal advice, psychosocial support and basic schooling are prioritised. These services are provided while fleeing or in the place of arrival or transit; as a direct service or by means of cash payments.
On the other hand, Caritas Switzerland is engaged to improve the access to social and economic services that enhance refugees’ and migrants’ inclusion. One important approach to achieve this is the training of teachers to reintegrate migrant children into the education system and thus avoid a ‘lost generation’. Caritas Switzerland also works closely with migrants and the host community to create economic opportunities, gain independence and autonomy, and minimise social conflicts.
Caritas Switzerland combines both elements of protection and socio-economic integration in the Graduation Approach. It is a targeted, carefully sequenced and time-bound intervention aiming to “graduate” households out of extreme poverty through a series of multisectoral activities.