15.03.2021

1 year coronavirus in Switzerland: A great show of solidarity!

16 March 2020 is a date that will remain in many people's minds. The Federal Council declared an ‘extraordinary situation’ and it soon became clear that the imposed lockdown would create hardship for many people in Switzerland. Thanks to your help, we were able to respond rapidly. Here you can read more about what we have achieved over the past 12 months.

Coronavirus Switzerland – an appeal with a difference

Admittedly, none of our appeals are quite like any other we run. But our experience with the Coronavirus Switzerland appeal really was like none other. And it goes on. It is the longest running appeal in the history of Swiss Solidarity, and the quickest, too: we set up the appeal account on 23 March 2020 and just four days later allocated the first sum of money to an emergency aid project run by Caritas. And the money raised in the appeal helped around 1.7 million people – also a first. The wide cooperation with experienced partners such as Caritas Switzerland and the Swiss Red Cross as well as with 124 other national, region and local organizations was also something new. And best of all, the solidarity shown by the Swiss public has been overwhelming. Over CHF 43.5 million francs has been donated so far, and CHF 40 million of this has already gone towards charitable projects.

How your donation has been used.

We have primarily funded projects that help people who already lived in difficult circumstances before the pandemic and who lost their income as a result of the crisis. Their immediate need was for food and financial assistance. Others needed urgent social support, such as care services or domestic help. So far we have funded 200 different projects. We are currently still supporting 73 ongoing projects, including for young people in need and for the homeless.

«Thanks to this rapid support from Swiss Solidarity, the most needy received essential free food, e.g. people who were not allowed to beg during the first lockdown.»
Franziska Reist, Church Streetwork Association Directress, Lucerne

Young people have been hit hard

Young people in particular are suffering during the coronavirus crisis and are worried about their futures. Many schoolleavers are finding it more difficult to find an apprenticeship and students are unable to find jobs. Youth unemployment levels have risen considerably and so we have decided to continue support for a few projects in this area up to 2023.

The crisis is not over

The pandemic continues to concern us in 2021; the need for support is still widespread. More and more individuals and families, who until now have been able to rely on the support of family or friends, are finding it difficult to cope.

Swiss Solidarity’s immediate financial support does not cover the long term, and the help we provide is supplementary to that provided by the authorities. Swiss Solidarity director Roland Thomann points out that the Coronavirus Switzerland appeal is still ongoing.

«It is clear that there is still great need for support. The money raised has provided emergency support over the past 12 months, and we can now only fund a few specific projects. However, we are not currently planning to run a large-scale appeal as we did last spring.»
Roland Thomann, Director, Swiss Solidarity.

Effective help going forward

Who has benefited from the projects supported by Swiss Solidarity? What services have been most popular? These questions are addressed in a study we have commissioned from the University of Northwestern Switzerland FHNW and the Haute école de travail social et de la santé HES-SO in Lausanne. The study will show what kind of projects most need our support in a future crisis. Initial analysis of the responses from 68 organizations with whom we worked show that very few over 65-year-olds accessed support, and that women were more likely to access support than men. Overall, the organizations are very pleased with the cooperation with Swiss Solidarity. The definitive findings of the study will be published in late summer. By the way: On our website there’s an interview with Prof. Matthias Drilling, director of studies at the FHNW.

Donations to the Coronavirus Switzerland appeal go solely towards projects in Switzerland. We also continue to raise money for people abroad suffering from the pandemic:

“Coronavirus International appeal”