The Catholic Church believes that the economy must and can respond to the cry of the oppressed, the poor, an instrument that can be fully integrated into the society. It means hearing this cry and giving an adequate response.
The economy’s moral dimension requires its effective management, so that economic growth generated by the activity of producing goods and services contributes to the well-being and to the common good of individuals, social groups and nations, while preventing their impairment, lagging behind, degradation and exclusion.
The solidarity economy is an alternative response, an element of social transformation and new economic relations that gives advantage to man instead of gain and benefits everyone.
Solidarity economy activities are an asset for their own sake, as they encourage the development of those enjoying a chance to grow, while contributing to the development of society, for a more favourable social, economic, cultural, political and natural environment.
What is a social economy?
The social economy gives superiority to the humans instead of gain. This model invests in people, their abilities and creativity, and empowers them by creating quality jobs and vocational training as well as prioritizing social goals such as helping people who remain detached from the labour market to find employment.
In a market economy, businesses strive to generate profits. They operate on the market by rendering goods and services and looking for customer satisfaction. The same happens in the social economy. The difference is that in the social economy the accumulated gain is used to achieve social goals rather than to accumulate personal wealth.
By prioritizing social goals, the social economy contributes, in an innovative way, to tackling the social, economic and environmental needs of the society that have been overlooked or misinterpreted by either private or public sector. In line with this understanding, Caritas actively creates and implements various types of initiatives in the social economy domain across Europe.
ELBA – Social Economy Development in Southeast Europe
ELBA is an initiative for the social economy development in the Balkans, where Caritas Bulgaria participates along with the Caritas organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Kosovo and Macedonia. The initiative is supported by Caritas Italy, Caritas Spain, Caritas France and Catholic Charities.
The activities aim at enhancing the knowledge about the social economy in the Balkans and building a favourable environment for the development of social enterprises. In this context, trainings and working visits are organised to share experience and knowledge in the implementation of initiatives in the field of social economy.
As part of the ELBA team, Caritas Bulgaria has the opportunity to provide support to its member organizations to prepare and launch projects of social entities, as well as to organise various trainings depending on the needs related to the organization, management, financial sustainability and compliance with the social criteria of future social entities to be created within Caritas and the Catholic Church in Bulgaria.
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