On 15 January, the Secours populaire launched its national collection campaign: “Don’actions”. It was different from usual due to the health restrictions in place. An online donations app replaced the booklets. Our volunteer organisers and collectors downloaded the app onto their phone and went out to meet contributors. They pulled out all the stops across France to raise funds and make a difference in France and around the world.
To mark International Day of Women’s Rights on 8 March, four very different women, united by their involvement with Secours populaire, were put in the spotlight. Maria, Joëlle, Larissa and Nicole all started volunteering for different reasons; some had been helped by the Secours populaire, others simply wanted to make a difference. The solidarity shown by these women demonstrates their motivation to play an active role in the community and to do their bit to achieve a fairer and more caring society.
This campaign kicked off on 20 March with the aim of raising awareness and donations for our initiatives across Europe and around the world. This year’s campaign focused on sustainable development issues: taking action to preserve the Earth we share, from a people-first perspective. Fundraising operations got under way to support the Secours populaire’s 131 partner associations that work tirelessly around the world. Children from the Privas “Copain du Monde” group sold Tawashi sponges made from second-hand fabric to raise money for a project in Burkina Faso to provide schooling for street children.
On 12 May, the Secours populaire launched its Vacances (Holiday) campaign, with 120 beneficiaries setting off on their first vacation. After another year of Covid-19 restrictions, it was essential for underprivileged families to get away from it all and take a refreshing break. The Secours populaire federations and committees organised holidays by the sea, in the mountains, or in at countryside destinations, for parents and children. Many more participants got the chance to take a break from reality if only for a day with the “Journées bonheur” (Happiness days) scheme, enjoying fun days out packed with leisure and sports activities.
For World Refugee Day on 20 June, the Secours populaire reiterated its commitment to refugees to help ensure they are protected and able to exercise their rights and build a better life. In Grande-Synthe, the Secours populaire distributed hot meals and emergency kits in 2021, just as it has done for decades.
Between 15 and 30 August, the Secours populaire committees and federations were busy ensuring that nobody missed out on the summer fun. One in three children in France doesn’t go on holiday, and it is generally accepted that if they haven’t been away by 15 August, they won’t get away at all. Hence almost 50 days out were organised across France to give every child a chance to make some happy memories before going back to school. Five thousand children from the Paris region enjoyed a day at the beach in Cabourg. For many, it was their first ever trip to the seaside.
The Secours populaire organises its “Festival des solidarités” every two years. The 2021 festival was postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic. However, 150 young volunteers met up at the Secours pop’ tour in Versailles instead. They used the opportunity to catch up and discuss what solidarity means to them. The young volunteer organiser-collectors organised workshops to swap solidarity tips and best practices. They also held a street collection campaign at the entrance of the Château de Versailles.
For the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty on 17 October, the Secours populaire unveiled its “Happy-End” series which tells the stories of Rama, Sidi, Shera, Jhon Rachid and Raphäl. All five received support from Secours populaire at some point in their life and are living proof that solidarity can turn everything around. Sidi was a professional footballer in Algeria before moving to France and sought support from the Secours populaire when he ended up homeless. Sidi is now a sports educator and conveys his passion for football and its values to children.
The Secours populaire’s 38th National Congress took place in Lyon from 19 to 21 November. It was prepared and organised by the committees at meetings and conferences throughout the year. This year’s theme was “Let’s create sustainable and worldwide solidarity for all”. Over three days, 800 delegates from the various Secours populaire federations, 50 partners from Europe and around the world and 70 “Copain du Monde” children shared their experiences and reflected on ways to multiply solidarity initiatives. The Secours populaire’s new national leaders were elected and the association determined its main focal points for the next two years.
Five thousand children and parents from 20 departments across France were invited to the launch of the “Pères Noëls verts” (Green Father Christmas) campaign at the Phénix Circus on 17 November. On the agenda: an unforgettable show, a snack, and a gift from Santa. The “Pères Noëls verts” collected donations and did what they could to give struggling families the chance to enjoy some seasonal joy and goodwill. They organised a sale of toys, Christmas trees, Christmas decorations and festive products, all at affordable prices, so parents could stock up and allow their children to celebrate in style and enjoy a Christmas meal. Plenty more festive events were held all over France and beyond, including outings, shows, circus tickets and meals out, spreading festive cheer far and wide.