Fedasil, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers, was created in 2002. Fedasil is a public institution that guarantees support to asylum seekers in Belgium. It offers, together with its partners, hosting and support according to high quality standards. The Fedasil agency is involved in the process of conceiving, preparing and implementing hosting policies.
The centre of Petit Château is one of the Fedasil centres for asylum seekers. It is an open centre, which means asylum seekers are free to enter and leave as they wish. They usually stay at the centre during the time the ministry of Foreign Affairs inspects their files and papers. Most of the asylum seekers stay at Petit Château for a minimum of three to six months. In some cases they may stay for a couple of years.
Petit Château’s mission: Petit Château is a reception centre for asylum seekers. We try to cooperate with all parties to guarantee the refugee a professional and respectful approach to providing shelter, we offer an appropriate framework and orientation to help them shape their future.
The centre has been hosting 8 EVS volunteers in the past, boys and girls, from different countries : Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain, Italy and France. They all did a great job at integrating in our animation team and they’ve been a great help. With a good sense of enthusiasm they worked on cultural projects as well as projects with media, sports etc. Some even came up with totally new projects.
These projects allow our residents to establish a direct contact with volunteers by organising together leisure time activities. This co-operation between the volunteer, the staff and the residents proves to be effective as it is based on mutual respect.
The reception centre of Petit Château is located in Brussels, along the canal and is very easy to access by public transportation.
At the moment 830 asylum seekers are living at Petit Château, which makes it the largest open centre of Belgium. The asylum seekers sleep in dorms (if they’ve arrived alone) or in private apartments (if they’ve arrived with their family). Most of them are single men, but there are women, families and even minors without their parents. Their nationality is very divers, coming from all over the world. Petit Château employs 120 staff members, both French as Dutch speaking.
The volunteer will be accommodated in a share flat in the centre of Brussels where s/he may share a bedroom with another volunteer
The volunteer will be in direct contact with 8 staff members (both French and Dutch speaking) from the team of Buro Bizzi. One of the colleagues will be his/her personal tutor. The volunteer will work at the centre from Monday to Friday, usually from 9 am to 5 pm. The volunteer may sometimes be asked to work on Saturday or in the evenings (day trips, going out at night, language courses etc.), but will then be guaranteed a day off as a compensation.
The centre of Petit Château is striving for intercultural contacts. Thanks to EVS volunteers, Petit Château is able to organise activities that we wouldn’t be able to because of a lack of local volunteers. The EVS volunteers can also continue already existing activities. The volunteers have a better contact with the asylum seekers, they can spend a lot of time together, talk with them, help the social assistant at understanding them. Those are small extras that make asylum seekers feel more welcome and at ease.
A volunteer is better suited to express the peculiarity and values of each person because he/she doesn’t represent an authority nor an institution. The volunteer is mainly an essential help and contributes to the quality of the asylum seeker’s stay. The voluntary service of Petit Château states that » the volunteers make little extras possible in order to change the asylum seeker’s stay for the better and to help those in difficult situations». The volunteer’s enthusiasm and dynamism has a very positive effect on the team of Buro Bizzi. It gives the vibes to start new projects, to look at old habits from a new point of view, to think about new ideas…
While part of the Buro Bizzi team, the volunteer will have a particular task at Petit Château. He/she will bring those little extras the professional staff isn’t able to bring. The volunteer can organise new activities or continue already existing activities. This brings a little diversity to the residents. The volunteers can take their time to listen to the asylum seekers and have a very privileged contact with them because they don’t represent an authority nor an institution. The volunteer contributes to the quality of the asylum seeker’s stay.
The description of the hosting project might be found on the EVS database and is accessible to anyone. As soon as we have a vacancy, this information is shared with European partners and to young people who showed some interest for the project. We ask to every applicant to send a CV, a motivation letter and to fill a questionnaire, which was created together by Fedasil and by JAVVA. The main aim of this tool is to verify what are the motivations of the young volunteer, as well as to understand his/her awareness of the policies concerning asylum seekers and his/her understanding of the main features of the hosting project.
The project welcomes all sorts of profiles. Everyone has its own qualities and ideas. It’s important however that the volunteer has at least a basic knowledge of French or English. Most of our residents are French or English speaking. If the volunteer is able to speak one of those two languages, he can communicate with the asylum seekers which makes an integration much more easy. Because the high number of other volunteers and staff members, it may not always be easy to fully feel at ease. That’s why a volunteer with a lot of autonomy and sense for initiative has more chances to feel at ease. asylum seekers aren’t always too enthusiastic for the proposed activities. That’s why it’s important that the volunteer isn’t discouraged immediately when facing an obstacle. He/she should have some strength to keep going, some flexibility to adapt to the circumstances.
The volunteer needs vaccinations for Hepathitis A and B. The volunteer can do a free test for TBC at the centre, at the beginning and at the end of the project.
A tutor will be identified among the staff: s/he will be charged of supporting the volunteer and help him/her in overcoming whatever difficulties s/he might encounter on his/her EVS project. Regular meetings will be organised between the tutor and the volunteer so to discuss sensitive issues and to evaluate the work. The tutor will be mostly available on the workplace but might also be reached by phone if needed. JAVVA will identify one person as well to be monitoring the project and the development of the volunteer. The volunteer will be asked to follow the rules of conduct of the centre, who are aimed at both the staff and the residents. S/he will also be informed about fire prevention procedures.
We don’t foresee to host any under-age volunteer as this projects demands a certain maturity and emotional control.
For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Europass CV with picture (made in the last month)
– Motivational letter, writing that your sending organisation will be “Building Bridges”. We ask all candidates to send a specific letter of motivation – why they want to volunteer with us rather than just a general EVS one.
Remember to write in the motivation letter that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges”.
All documents written in english you can send to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “SVE, centro de regugiados en Bruselas, Bélgica ”