The International Cardijn Association (ICA) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to serve the present and future generations of young workers throughout the world.
Officially created in September 1998 on the initiative of the International YCW, the ICA mission is to provide financial support to the projects implemented by young workers in order to improve their capacities to take responsibilities and to change their living and working conditions. In this direction those young people can find the place they deserve in society and the dignity inherent in all human beings.
Throughout his life, Cardijn, who founded the International YCW in 1957, never ceased to disseminate his message that “Each young worker is worth more than all the gold in the world.” Convinced that this message is still true today, the ICA wants to help young people – apprentices or unemployed, domestic workers, workers in the informal economy, casual workers, those exploited in export-processing zones, those excluded from society – to carry out projects which will allow them to live with dignity.
The history of young workers has been marked by struggles to improve the living and working conditions of working-class youths, often marginalized, sometimes totally excluded, always in quest for more justice and dignity.
Today, as much as yesterday, goodwill is not enough to make our voice heard and to make things change. We need to unite in order to take action; we need to operate both at local and international levels. In many cases, financial support is essential if the action carried out is to bring about the expected results.
The idea of creating a foundation that would support young workers’ projects had already germinated in the 1960s.
The International Cardijn Association (ICA) wants to preserve Cardijn’s heritage and ensure the continuity of his project.
Its specific objective is to ensure the long-term financial stability and autonomy of projects that are run by young workers’ movements and groups with a view to establishing more social justice.
To do so, the ICA manages funds that are the result of donations. It makes ethical investments and uses the interests of those investments to promote projects aimed at improving the young workers’ living and working conditions and the respect of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.