International Catholic Society for Girls
ACISJF (Association Catholique Internationale de Services pour la Jeunesse Féminine)
ACISJF was the first Catholic international association for girls, founded in Friburg in Switzerland in 1897 by Louise de Reynold to meet the needs of young girls who, because of social changes, had to live away from their own families. At that time it was called the "International Catholic Association of Organizations for the Protection of Girls", and within a year it had extended its network from Russia to the United States of America. In 1910 it made a major contribution to the establishment of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (see page 295). After the Second World War, while there was loss of contact with Central-Eastern Europe, which only resumed in 1991, it expanded in Latin America and in Africa. Between 1951 and 1953 the Association played a part in establishing the Conference of International Catholic Organisations. The present name was adopted in 1964. Previously recognised by the Holy See, ACISJF was confirmed as an International Association of the Faithful by the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s decree of XXX 26th April 2007. As an NGO, it has consultative status with the Council of Europe, UNESCO and Ecosoc.
ACISJF groups together national, local and regional Catholic associations and institutions working on behalf of girls and young women. The Association’s purpose is to be an educational community, implementing tailor-made projects to help girls develop in areas where their life situations have prevented them from developing properly. Respecting their cultural and religious differences, the Association takes in girls in difficulty, helping them to integrate into society; it encourages the creation of associations to help girls throughout the world; it provides services run by professionals and volunteers trained to deal with the specific needs of each country. The powerful sense of service that drives ACISJF enables it to meet girls’ new needs offering them a flexible welcome and addressing all contingencies.
The official governing bodies of the ACISJF are the General Assembly, which meets once every four years, the International Council, which meets once a year and comprises the General President of ACISJF, the General President of WUCWO, the Ecclesiastical Assistant and two members of the Regional Commissions set up for Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. ACISJF is open to full membership, or associate membership if the member cannot undertake all the obligations of full membership and wishes to cooperate to achieve the objectives of the Association; there are also corresponding members who work in the same field and exchange services and information with ACISJF.
ACISJF comprises 35 national member associations, in 33 countries as follows: Africa (13), Asia (1), Europe (12), North America (3) and South America (4).
ACISJF has created numerous social services to meet the specific needs of different countries, managed locally by national associations: homes for single mothers; schools for nursing assistants and social workers; language and computer schools; cooperatives; literacy and school support centres; sports centres; cultural and religious, vocational and agricultural training courses; job centres, and hospitality desks at railways stations.
Contacts, twice-yearly bulletin in French, Spanish and German.
Association Catholique Internationale de Services pour la Jeunesse Féminine
ACISJF - IN VIA
Maison des Associations
15, rue des Savoises - 1205 Genève - Switzerland
Tel./Fax: +41 (0) 22.8000835