Les organisations régionales de Caritas s'engagent pour l'intégration sociale des personnes touchées par la pauvreté. Cela implique notamment qu'elles puissent participer à des activités culturelles et de loisirs.

Work in the network

Cooperation with the Regional Caritas Organisations

Switzerland: Caritas network

Advice and relief for people in financial straits

Caritas Switzerland cooperates closely with the Regional Caritas Organisations in various fields. This enables Caritas to be active at the local and national level.

2’072 telephone counselling sessions

Caritas Switzerland is the sponsor of the SOS-debt service. It provides online, telephone or personal support to people who are indebted or in financial difficulties, anonymously if they so wish. For this provision, Caritas Switzerland has concluded a service agreement with four Regional Caritas Organisations and seven third-party providers. In 2023, 2’072 telephone and 1’595 online advice sessions were conducted.

Separately from this, most of the Regional Caritas Organisations themselves offer social and debt advice. The Regional Organisations’ social workers can consult the legal experts of Caritas Switzerland on questions of social welfare law and other issues. In 2023, 708 such consultations took place.

Caritas Market cooperative

Another example are the Caritas Markets, which are organised as a cooperative. Their President is Mireille Grädel, a member of the Executive Board. The cooperative manages the product store in Sempach and is responsible for the purchase and the collection of donations in kind. The Markets are operated by the Regional Caritas Organisations.

In 2023, more customers used the markets in all the locations than in the previous year. The 22 shops in German and French-speaking Switzerland recorded 3’600 sales per day. A total of 1.1 million customer movements took place, around 50’000 more than in 2022, which was already a record year.

Figures for the Caritas network






of volunteer work






training places


Culture pass rolled out «KulturLegi»

More than 150’000 people on a low budget take advantage of the «KulturLegi» culture pass in Switzerland. They benefit from more than 3’800 offers related to culture, sport, education and health, enabling them to participate in social life. The pass has been digitally available as a web app since spring 2023. Users can now also prove their membership with their smartphone. After the successful launch in the pilot regions of Vaud and Zurich, the app will also be available in other KulturLegi regions by mid-2024.

Good food for everyone Bon Lieu

Thanks to the Bon Lieu project, people living in poverty receive a voucher entitling them to free or reduced-price restaurant meals. The vouchers are available via the «KulturLegi» culture pass. Disadvantaged people are employed and trained in the catering trade to help them re-enter the primary labour market. In 2023, three new restaurants joined the Bon Lieu project: Hallers Brasserie tout le monde in Bern, Café-Restaurant Ferme des Tilleuls in Renens and St. Gervais in Biel. Last year, 3’609 people took advantage of the offer, including 726 children below the age of 12. 1’643 vouchers were distributed.

Turning old into new Caritas Geneva

The «Upcyclerie» is a brand of Caritas Geneva which makes high-quality garments and accessories from used materials. The second-hand products are passed on via the Caritas clothes collection system to two workshops, where they are turned into new outfits, accessories and other design items. Young people are trained in the workshops or reintegrated into the labour force. The sale proceeds help to fund the social commitment of Caritas Geneva.

© Pascaline Dargant

3 Swiss francs to get to the Caritas Market Caritas Grisons

Grisons is a large and mountainous canton. The journey to the Caritas Market in Chur by public transport is too far – and too expensive – for many people. That is why Caritas Graubünden has launched a project in cooperation with the Rhaetian Railway, PostBus AG and the Graubündner Kantonalbank: twice a month, Caritas Market customers can buy a train and/or bus ticket to Chur and back for 3 Swiss francs. This aims to support people experiencing or at risk of poverty who live in remote regions.

© Unsplash / Xavier von Erlach
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Header image: The regional Caritas organisations are committed to the social integration of people affected by poverty. This includes enabling them to take part in cultural and leisure activities. © Corinne Sägesser