Caritas is a pastoral institution of Catholic Church established to promote and testify of Christian’s love. The fundamentals of Caritas and its work are found in the Old Testimony as well as in life and act of Jesus Christ. Caritas is the legal institution acting in both areas civil and church in accordance with the Canon Law and the Civil Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina is a full member of Caritas Europe and Caritas Internationals Network.
With the respect of a principle of subsidiary, solidarity and autonomy of Caritas offices in different Dioceses, Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina is working on the following:
- Coordination of the work of Dioceses Caritas, especially programs with intermission’s meaning;
- Regular collection of information about work, projects and needs of Bishop’s Caritas’s, data processing and presentation of the results to donors and public;
- Representation of the Caritas’s of Diocese Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje –Mrkan on issues of a general importance, in state and church institutions, in country and abroad;
- Promotion of the cooperation with the international and national Caritas’s as well as with other humanitarian organizations in country and abroad;
- Encouragement of the public to charitable work and cooperation;
- Promotion of the nurture and education of employees for needs of Diocese and parish Caritas’s;
- Providing assistance to Diocese Caritas’s in their needs and the successful organisation of their staff and work
Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina was established in 1995 as an institution of newly created Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an aim to coordinate support for socially deprived people and to coordinate common respond of the Caritas network to the pressing humanitarian crisis of the war that occurred during 1990s. Caritas provided relief in the form of food, clothes, shoes, medicine, fuel and other supplies to the thousands of refugees and exiles, the elderly and ill people, socially disadvantaged, victims of war, and to those most in need.
Two decades later, the scope of Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina work continues to develop and diversify to meet the new challenges in the country; such as poverty and social exclusion, unemployment, social injustice, human trafficking, disasters, etc. In order to meet those challenges Caritas through its various programs and projects, seeks to provide adult education, new job opportunities, support social entrepreneurship, offer psychosocial support, and actively and continuously work on peace building and reconciliation. Year after year, the urgency of Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina services continues to grow as the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions persists and the number of poor and disadvantage rises every day.
Providing and coordinating humanitarian assistance during and after disasters or conflict remains the cornerstone of Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina mission. In 2010, 2011 and 2014 Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina demonstrated its solidarity in recovery process with those most in need when the worst floods in decades created numerous landslides forcing thousands of families in numerous municipalities to evacuate their damaged or destroyed homes. Despite the exposure to natural hazards and action in disaster risk reduction in the country, Caritas BIH is responding to disasters worldwide providing symbolic but valuable support to those affected.
One of the biggest macroeconomic problems blighting the region the last twenty years has been a high unemployment and poverty rate. Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina with its programs strives to give response on needs of people, observing needs and resources on field and engaging itself in creation of improved socio-economic context providing services for the most deprived ones.
With implementation of Organisational Development program and Caritas Internationalis Management Standards, Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina is continuously investing in its personnel, structure and procedures increasing its own capacities and reliability to the potential partners and donors.
Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina national office is located in Sarajevo and employs 14 person, while three (arch) diocesan Caritas organisations are based in Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka employing approximately 230 staff and 500 volunteers. National Caritas main functions are coordination of common programs, capacity building, advocacy and lobbing, public relations, emergency response coordination and poverty observation. The Strategic framework is updated for the period 2017 – 2021.
Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europa network, actively collaborates, and receives support from the Caritas confederation. In particular, Caritas members from Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and CRS have representatives present in the country to offer assistance during the initial implementation and development stages of various programmes.