Caritas International “Logis de Louvranges” for asylum seekers, only women and children (Brabant Wallon)
Duration: 12 months
Starting: September 1st, 2015 (2 places)
Description of organisation
Caritas International employs 100 persons and provides aid to victims of war, natural disasters, migration and poverty.
In Belgium, Caritas works on a small scale with asylum seekers unaccompanied minors, integration of refugees and voluntary return.
The project in Louvranges consists of hosting female asylum seekers, single or with children in 18 apartments. The team assists the residents in the legal, social and medical field.
Workers in the centre have a variety of tasks. The organisation has social workers who work with the mothers, employees who are responsible for the development of long term projects and other workers who focus on technical support within the centre. There are also local volunteers who support residents in finding a new accommodation, learning French, give administration support or help for transportation. Some others volunteers organize activities with children or are just there to be available for the residents if they simply need to talk to someone.
The goal of the Logis is to give the mothers a maximum of autonomy starting from their own capacity in order to be ready to leave the Logis and start an independent life.
Residents leave the Logis because they either got a positive answer or because their asylum request have been refused.
Motivation and EVS experience
Caritas does not have any experience yet in hosting EVS volunteers.
However, the responsible person for the project Logis de Louvranges has previous experience in hosting EVS volunteers in the Fedasil center in Rixensart, where she previously worked. She will be the one participating in the selection of the candidates, interacting with the coordinatnig organisation and preparing the modules of evaluation for the EVS volunteer.
The team of the Logis is well aware of the challenges the young volunteer might face. This project will require that the volunteer adapt to a new environment, in a foreign country and with a different language than in their mother tongue. Therefore, appropriate support to integrate the country, the environment and the project will be given.
We think that this is a great opportunity for the families at Logis de Louvranges and the Caritas team to cooperate with an EVS volunteer. Our objective is to allow intercultural exchanges between young Europeans and residents in order to get mutual enrichment. This is a great way to interact and learn from each other. EVS volunteers will be able to develop his or her skills and competence.
This project gives volunteers will gain an insight of how it is to be an asylum seeker in Belgium by working with women and children. It is a good way of learning more about European migration policies. The young EVS volunteers will also be able to establish fruitful relations with residents and staff by contributing with their enthusiasm and energy to the activities.
The Logis of Louvranges host about 18 women and between 40 and 45 children, all asylum seekers. They are from: Congo, Guinea, Rwanda, Nigeria, Somalia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Dagestan, Kosovo,…
The Logis is in the commune of Wavre and is close to the municipalities of Chaumont-Gistoux and Louvain-La-Neuve. The place of the Logis is somewhat isolated. There is a big pasture and a courtyard for the children.
During the week, it is possible to take a bus from the Logis but during the week-end one has to walk 2 km to reach the first bus stop. The journey by bus to Louvain-la-Neuve takes 10 minutes. In Louvain-la-Neuve, there is a train station and a bus station from which it is possible to access other major cities in Belgium.
Bikes are available and if volunteers have a driving licence valid in Belgium, they will be allow to use a van easy to ride.
The logis has a team of 30 local volunteers who organize activities and services for the residents. Nevertheless, most of local volunteers are available during a short period of time and this makes it therefore difficult to organize a new project with them.
The 2 EVS volunteers will be hosted in one of the flat of the Logis de Louvranges where they will share a bedroom, have a kitchen, a living room and a bathroom. It is important that volunteers have their private space where they can spend time during their free time in order to take distance toward the life of the centre. Volunteers will be in touch with other EVS volunteers who are in the same area.
Activities of the EVS volunteers
Upon their arrivals, volunteers will get trainings from Caritas about the organisations, its principles, Europea asylum policy or any other internal issue that volunteers are interested in. They will be given the opportunity to take French classes either within the centre or in the neighbouring town of Louvain-la-Neuve.
Volunteers’ tasks will consist in different types of activities (mainly animation) with children, families and women. The main tasks will be:
- to help with the organisation of the daycare within the centre and to suggest activities for children (0-3 years old)
- to co-lead and to co-organise activities for children (creative and artistic workshops, sports activities,…)
- to develop a bicycle workshop (lessons, rules of the road, loans service,…)
- to co-organise workshops with families and women in order to improve communication and community harmony (cooking workshop or any other activities that volunteers want to organise)
Volunteers will also have the opportunity to develop a personal project linked to the centre’s values if they want to.
Volunteers will work between 30-35h per week and work will take place between 8.30 am and 19.30 pm. Time schedules will be defined together with volunteers. Normally volunteers won’t have to work on Saturday but if they do, they will be offered the opportunity to compensate during the week.
Profile of volunteers and recruiting process
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 Caritas and by JAVVA. The main aim of this tool is to check 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.
It is important that the candidate has qualities such as empathy, autonomy and flexibility. It is also important that volunteers enjoy spending time with children, especially, very young children.
Volunteers will be working with people in a difficult situation. Therefore, the main risks are linked to psychosocial care.
A mentor 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 mentor and the volunteer so to discuss sensitive issues and to evaluate the work. The mentor 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 Logis, 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 underage volunteer as this projects demands a certain maturity and emotional control.
Deadline for applying: 10/03/2015
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 refugiados para mujeres y niños, Bélgica ”