Emmaus Europe


Emmaus in Denmark

Emmaus has had a presence in Denmark since 1963 and the movement now has two member groups in the country. The Danish groups’ main focus is to provide support to associations based outside of Denmark, notably in Africa.


The Svalerne organisation (Swallows) was set up in Copenhagen in 1963, after others were set up in Sweden, Finland and Norway, to send volunteers and to support development work in the slums and isolated rural areas of India and, from 1971, Bangladesh. In 1965, Grete Lauritzen set up SOS Boîtes de Lait to support child victims of economic insecurity in developing countries, supplying products for dispensaries, maternity hospitals, day nurseries, hospitals and leper hospitals outside the big cities in areas which are difficult to access. They organised collections in Denmark and hundreds of young Danes got involved in the Emmaus international work camps in France. In summer 1969, more than 40 cities in Denmark hosted international work camps. The first rag-pickers community was set up shortly afterwards.

Main Activities

  • Craftworks, fairtrade
  • Collecting, reusing, recycling and selling on objects
  • Political campaigning and awareness raising
  • Local, european and international solidarity initiatives

Secondary Activities

  • Publishing a newspaper
  • Exhibitions

Key numbers

2 member groups

2 sales areas

2 Local groups
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