Solidar Suisse was founded in 1936 as the Swiss Labour Assistance by the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions and the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. The purpose was to help workers, both men and women, impacted by the Great Depression of 1929. It went on to give humanitarian aid during the Spanish Civil War.
After World War II the organization concentrated on helping refugees in Switzerland. Starting in 1949 the organization was one of the first Swiss groups to engage in development programs and humanitarian aid for foreign countries. Thus, to give a few examples, Algerian refugees in Morocco were helped in 1957, a craft center was founded in Senegal in 1967 and victims of the third Indo-Pakistani War were given aid in 1971. Rising unemployment in Switzerland in the 1990s led to Solidar’s pioneering role in job insertion programs.
From Swiss Labour Assistance to Solidar Suisse
The year 2005 marked the division of the organization into 10 regional groups for local job insertion programs and an independent section for foreign work. The organization’s name was only changed to Solidar in 2011. This new name represents the main goals of the organization: Solidarity, Decent Working Conditions and Social Justice. Furthermore, Solidar Suisse encourages democratic participation and provides crisis (short term) and reconstruction (long term) aid following catastrophes in affected areas.