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.

For its functioning, the ICA relies on a team of volunteers who are involved in raising funds. Those funds come from donations by people or movements wishing to support a just cause: that of young workers. The capital is invested ethically and the interests are used to fund projects which are initiated by movements or groups of young workers who struggle to change their living and working conditions. Decent jobs, reasonable working hours, adequate salaries, weekly day-offs, the eradication of sexual and moral harassment, social protection for all … are the focus of the struggle to be carried out in a globalized world, where human beings often feel powerless when faced with walls of injustice.
By providing financial support to young workers’ projects, the ICA simply wants to contribute to building a society with more justice and a world with more solidarity.

Bartolo Perez: A Chronology of The Life of a YCW Activist Who Remained a YCW Activist All His Life

Bartolo 1

Bartolo Perez was born in São Paulo (Brazil) on November 20, 1925.

He was a teacher and trainer at the University of Porto Alegre. Of Spanish origin, his parents, Francisco and Josefa, arrived in Brazil during the immigration period in the early 20th century.

At the age of 14, he began working as an apprentice turner in a small auto parts factory. It was in this factory, in 1942, that 16-year-old Bartolo Perez met young Emídio, a YCW activist who helped him look at reality: "I was very curious to know what dignity was, what it meant," Bartolo said in an interview a few years ago.

Thus, the young worker’s awareness was raised and he started carrying out militant actions with his comrades. One of the first actions was to go to the union to denounce the working situation of young people in the factory.

This is how Bartolo joined the YCW group in the Mooca neighborhood in the Sao Paulo region.

In Baudour, a small town in Wallonia (Belgium), former YCW members have kept the values of the YCW alive for over 40 years!


When they welcomed the IYCW secretary-general (Orlando) and the ICA coordinator (Arlindo) last July, several former YCW members had the opportunity to meet and exchange on the realities and challenges of the IYCW and the ICA. Moreover, a delegation of the Walloon YCW came to join us. It was also an opportunity to present the different projects carried out by several former YCW members. Without giving a detailed description, the place is home to a collective vegetable garden, where some fifteen gardeners get together one day a week to grow various vegetables and share a common meal with products from the garden. The main objective of the garden is to encourage people to live together, creating social links through a vegetable garden which, it should be noted, does not use any pesticides.

The other initiative is a "Repair Café". This is a project that gives a second life to various electrical appliances, machines, clothes, tools, after being repaired for free by volunteer technicians. This is a way to fight against the overproduction of waste and thus preserve our environment.

News from the ICA: Welcome to our New Members!

ICA election

There was an election at the ICA General Assembly held last February, and the following people were elected:

  • Bernhard Bormann, a former member of the German YCW, was a member of the IYCW International team. He is currently working as a regional secretary of the KAB (Catholic Worker movement) in Rothenburg-Stuttgart. Bernhard represents the continuity, ensuring the bridge with the new advisors as he started to cooperate with the IYCW two years ago, in particular for the organization of the European Colloquy held in 2019.
  • Marinete Alves Bayer was a member of the IYCW International Team from 1983 to 1987. She is a former YCW member from Brazil who lives in Spain. She is currently involved in several local social organizations in Spain and is very active in the Joseph Cardijn Educational Encounter Association.
  • Michele Di Nanno was also a member of the IYCW International Team from 1983 to 1987. He is originally from Italy and is a former member of the Walloon YCW (Belgium). Very active and coordinator within the movement of permanent and popular education in Belgium, Michele will act as a bridge between the ICA and the Belgian particularities, as the IYCW secretariat is located in Brussels.
  • Finally, Ludovicus Mardiyono was president of the International YCW from 2012 to 2016 and he was also president of the Indonesian YCW. He is the "most recent former member" of the IYCW. With his communication skills, he will assist the IYCW and the ICA, among others in editing and publishing website articles and newsletters that will be produced to keep you informed about actions and views on issues of importance to youth and the IYCW.