Emmaus…for us the name calls to mind a large number of images, including mutual support, collecting unwanted goods, the disciples in the Bible, recycling and Abbé Pierre, to name but a few.
What is it all about? What is Emmaus? What is behind this great name? What is Emmaus Europe? Just what are the communities that are often mentioned?
Did you know that when an item is dropped off at an Emmaus group somewhere in Europe, it has an impact on the whole region, thanks
to the solidarity that links European Emmaus members?
Did you know that Emmaus communities welcome all those who wish to recharge their batteries either for a
given period of time or for life?Did you know that the Emmaus Movement was founded as a result of an encounter between a desperate man and a man for whom the meaning of life was based on self-sacrifice?
Take the chance to find out about Emmaus Europe, the Movement to which it belongs and the communities that make it up.
A federation of Emmaus organisations in Europe
Emmaus Europe, in its current form, was created on 21st May 2005. A not-for-profit organisation, it brings together all the Emmaus structures in Europe and is one of the four continental regions of the Emmaus Movement (Africa, America, Asia and Europe).
Today, 309 groups in 17 European countries are members of Emmaus Europe.
Defending the unique nature of the Emmaus Movement in Europe
The Emmaus Movement – an international solidarity movement – has a special ethos due to the original way in which it was founded . The movement’s principles, such as “first help those who suffer most” and “fight extreme poverty and the causes of extreme poverty« , distinguish it from other solidarity organisations (see What is the Emmaus Movement?)
Emmaus Europe seeks to strengthen and preserve Emmaus’ identity in Europe with the aim of:
- fighting all forms of exclusion and social, racial, political, economic, religious, philosophical, ethnic and other kinds of discrimination.
- working to ensure that the rights of the poorest members of society are recognised and used.
Defending Emmaus’ values in Europe
Regional coordination: supporting the European groups in order to defend Emmaus’ values
Emmaus Europe’s main task is to coordinate the life of the region ( Article 4 of the Emmaus Europe Statutes ), enabling its members to fulfil the political role that they have set themselves. By providing them with its support, knowledge and expertise, Emmaus Europe offers the European Emmaus groups the chance at local, national and regional level to defend the values advocated by the Emmaus Movement since it was founded.
At European level, Emmaus Europe lobbies the European authorities and the authorities of the countries in which the movement is established (see Citizen initiatives).
European groups helping each other
Emmaus Europe is now the Emmaus International region with the largest number of Emmaus groups.
This inevitably means that there are major cultural, social and even economic differences between the groups. Emmaus Europe encourages synergies between the most affluent and the most impoverished groups via solidarity initiatives. The region supports and supervises these special solidarity links between partner groups, guaranteeing their coherence (see Solidarity initiatives).
The dynamism of Emmaus in Europe: training members of Emmaus groups
Every year Emmaus Europe holds training sessions (on political, economic and social issues) aimed at the various Emmaus stakeholders in the region. By doing this, the organisation aims to give its members the resources that they need to play a role in Emmaus (see Training courses).
Emmaus Europe also helps to organise the international work camps that are held in Europe. Led by Emmaus International, these work camps are the chance for participants from groups from all over the world to receive training on one of the movement’s priority areas (see International Work Camps).
A movement looking towards the future: European Youth Camps
Since it was founded, the Emmaus Movement has worked for and with young people. Indeed, the movement’s founder wanted to help young people in the post-war period to regain hope.
Even today, young people have a special place in the movement, particularly in Europe. Throughout the year and specifically from 15th June to 15th September, the European Emmaus groups open their doors and welcome young volunteers wanting to experience community life and the concept of “helping to help”.
Throughout their stay, the young volunteers follow the rhythm of the community, respecting its rules and taking part in daily activities. In an increasingly individualistic world, these young people discover an alternative form of community life that is both enriching and fulfilling (see New generations).