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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Cáritas Española

Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 1999

Cáritas Española is a branch of the Catholic Church devoted to charity and social work; it works unflaggingly in the struggle against the causes and effects of social ostracism, inequality and poverty. Cáritas Española organises its programmes around its General Services and its Parish and Diocese Cáritas groups, where work teams strive to be a model of the Christian community they form part of, and whose basic task is to involve individuals and communities as a whole in the search for solutions to the social problems patent within the community. At a national level Cáritas uses teams of sociologists of proven ability and reliability to constantly analyse, study and evaluate the different kinds of poverty that exist in our country.

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While Cáritas works to support marginalised groups, it also campaigns against the structural causes of poverty and social ostracism. The elderly with no economic resources, victims of broken homes, the long-term unemployed, youngsters looking for their first job, AIDS victims, rural populations suffering economic depression, immigrants, the drug-dependent, the handicapped, ostracised social groups such a vagabonds and the homeless, or members of ethnic minorities, are all the immediate focus of attention for this organisation dedicated to providing help and solidarity; in 1998 it invested over 20,000 million pesetas in humanitarian and social aid and in its improvement programmes. These resources are of diverse origin, ranging from voluntary contributions from private individuals -75% - to subsidies given by public bodies, like the funds obtained from Income Tax contributions- about 25%.

The Cáritas Confederation not only carries out its work in Spain, but also abroad. Cáritas Española is at present involved in development projects in 34 countries, as well as in all the major international emergencies brought about by war and natural disasters: Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Central America, Antilles, Colombia and Venezuela, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Turkey and East Timo.

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