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Poverty in Switzerland is invisible.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 600,000 people in Switzerland are poor. They would be entitled to social assistance - but by no means all of them receive these benefits. False shame and ignorance stand in the way.


"Life is more than survival"

According to the Federal Statistical Office, 273,273 people in Switzerland received social assistance in 2016. That corresponds to 3.3 percent of the population. In 2016, 318,600 pensioners were also dependent on supplementary benefits.


Poverty can affect everyone in Switzerland! A divorce, a stroke of fate, an illness, etc. Single parents in particular achieve a lot: almost 90 percent of them have a job alongside childcare. And yet they often live in poverty.

The PnCG SOS Foundation provides uncomplicated help.

Our help is just a drop in the ocean. However, we take on social responsibility and show solidarity with single parents in Switzerland. We work with a large network of foundations and voluntary institutions.

We advise on legal matters and social injustices and stand behind vulnerable families in solidarity.

In Basel, every third single mother will soon go to the social welfare office. Single parents, almost exclusively women, are practically not provided for in the system; they are regarded as industrial accidents, as people who at some point fall in love again and disappear from the statistics.


"The wages are not even enough for food"


"My apprenticeship wages are not even enough for me and my year-old Svenja to eat."


But they fight stubbornly. There are around 140,000 single mothers in Switzerland. And there are more and more. Every eighth child grows up in a "single parent family", as sociologists say. Almost every school class now has two or three children who grow up alone with their mother, now just as common as children from blended families.


According to Caritas, around 45,000 children received only part of their child support or not at all in 2004. It is then up to the woman to get help from the social welfare office. What only a few are aware of: «Municipalities can claim back social assistance»! The practice is different depending on the municipality. It also depends on the place of residence whether the parish advances the mother's alimony.


Those who are no longer able to look after themselves are entitled to funds for a dignified existence. This is what the federal constitution says. However, there is no regulation there as to who gets or may keep how much. Depending on the reason why someone can no longer make ends meet, the subsistence level is defined differently.

The differences are not always plausible - and therefore controversial. "The various subsistence minima have developed independently of one another over time," explains Felix Wolffers, Co-President of the Swiss Conference on Social Welfare (Skos). "There is no authority in Switzerland that is responsible for the uniform determination of the minimum subsistence level."

For example, the federal government determines the amount of supplementary benefits, but has no say in social assistance. It is determined by the cantons. Different approaches also apply depending on the municipality.



Your donation helps us to help people in need.

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Donation account:

Private & Confidential Group PnCG Cooperative

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IBAN: CH02 0900 0000 8904 7708 5


Purpose: ICSP - specification of the specific project (keyword: families at subsistence level)

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