Solidarity: from ‘dry Sundays’ to International Solidarity Campaigns

Pic Joc haiti

Solidarity is a crucial idea within the IYCW and a quick glance at the archives reveals this. Throughout the years countless letters, bulletins and emails contains the words “in solidarity” instead of a more generic salutation. However, the IYCW also understood that solidarity is more than words alone. It has always encouraged solidarity through action, not only from national YCW’s to their compatriots, but also between various YCW’s around the globe. The many International Solidarity Campaigns coordinated by the International Secretariat are a result of a long tradition of solidarity. Although most were undertaken in support of the victims of dictatorships, military regimes and other forms of repression such as Apartheid, there was solidarity towards the victims of natural disasters as well. For this blog article, KADOC collaborated with the JOC d’Haiti in order to shed a light on how solidarity was turned from thought to practice. 

One of the first responses of the IYCW to a natural disaster was after the 1960 Valdivia-earthquake in Chile, which is still the strongest earthquake ever recorded. The first detailed account of what happened reached the IYCW in the form of a letter written to Cardijn by Wim Verbakel, a Flemish Jocist who helped expand the YCW in Chile. He estimates that In the region south of Concepcion, around 40% of the homes were in ruins, as well as numerous other building such as factories and the YCW central.  The magnitude of the earthquake was massive, for he also reports that the water level in several lakes had dropped around 10 meters and that five new volcanoes and several lakes had formed. Soon bound to leave for a voyage to Africa, Cardijn rapidly printed Verbakel’s account into a circular. He stated that there was only one response to this crisis: ‘a dry Sunday (without drinks and frivolities)’. In addition to fasting, members were encouraged to donate to Cardijn’s personal account with the mention ‘for Chile’. He himself had already pledged 10 000 franks.

International Day of the Domestic Worker: A look at the Brazilian YCW and the problem of domestic workers

A map of the countries who have ratified ILO convention 189 and those who have turned it into policy

Domestic workers have always formed a significant group of the Brazilian workforce. According to the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2020, there are 4.5 million domestic workers, 12.8% of which are aged 14 to 29. Women represent more than 92% of the people engaged in domestic work, of which more than 65% (3 million) are black women. The typical domestic worker is a young unschooled woman originating from the countryside or an impoverished urban area. Working hard and long hours from a young age onwards, earning very little money in return, these young women all too often remain unschooled and unable to escape the tangles of unregulated domestic work. Given this precarious situation, it is no surprise that domestic workers have been a focal point for the Brazilian YCW (JOC Brasileira) ever since its foundation. On the occasion of the International Day of Domestic Workers, KADOC lets the IYCW archives and the Brazilian YCW speak about the issue of domestic work in Brazil.

Archiving progress: what KADOC is doing to conserve the IYCW heritage


It has been two months since the IYCW archives were moved to KADOC, and since we have made good progress. In total, more than 1500 archive boxes were moved, which amounts to more than 160 meters! Here’s how we deal with such a large archive:

The process starts by putting the boxes on empty shelves in our depot. This allows us to gain an overview and match boxes that belong together, e.g. all boxes concerning International Councils. Then we apply ever more structure to the contents. For example, we first assemble all documents on the International Council in Beirut 1969 and then devise them into files or dossiers according to the subject; pieces concerning the preparation of the council, the subjects debated during the council, the elections, etc. Luckily, some sections already have an inventory made by members of the International Secretariat, which offers us a valuable guideline.