Animation in Asylum Seeker Centre Meihof
Description: Meihof is a Red Cross centre for asylum seekers. After arrival in Belgium, refugees are sent to a centre where they receive food and shelter. Meihof is one of these centres. Meihof is located in Lint, a small village in the province of Antwerp. Around 160 refugees stay there, of which about 25 children and 18 unaccompanied minors. Since a lot of people from different backgrounds live together there and the asylum procedure is not always successful, life in the centre is far from easy. Therefor we are searching for motivated volunteers to organize activities in the asylum centre. We want to give children the opportunity to participate in fun activities and to be just kids. During the summer there's a lack of activities for both the children, the youngsters and the adults.
Type of Work: The volunteers will mainly organize activities for a mixed group of children and teenagers. The group will also take part in the daily life of the centre. The residents will be happy with the variation and the positive encounters. Besides the volunteers will create something with the children to carry out a positive image to the local community. What the group will be doing depends on the needs, the motivation and creativity of the group, so ideas are more than welcome! Keep in mind that people staying in Meihof are passing a very difficult time and that it’s in the volunteers' hands to make their lives a bit brighter. Therefore we expect every volunteer to be very motivated. There'll be 5 days of work a week and free weekends.
Study Theme: Besides the work itself, a study part is foreseen. One of the staff members of the centre will tell you how the centre works and provide you with a basic idea concerning Belgian procedures for asylum seekers. We will also discuss advantages and disadvantages of these procedures. Furthermore throughout the camp there will be interesting encounters between the residents and the volunteers.
Accommodation: The volunteers will sleep together in the building of the local youth movement where they can use the facilities (toilet, shower, …) of the building. The volunteers should bring their own sleeping bags. Smoking is not allowed inside of the building and alcoholic drinks are not allowed on the grounds of the centre, the volunteers will be asked to respect these rules.
Language: You should know that you are coming to Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, where Flemish (= Dutch) is the official language! But don’t worry, we do not expect you to speak Dutch. The camp language will be English, though any other languages such as body language or music are possible, because you will be in such a cultural mix of people.
Requirements: We expect the volunteers to have a positive intercultural mindset, respect for the origin and situation of the residents and for the rules of conduct of the centre and the guiding principles of the Red Cross. Experience with children animation a huge advantage. But above all we ask a lot of enthusiasm and openness to meet people from all over the world.
Approximate Location: Lint, a small village in the province of Antwerp
Notes: Since food and sleeping place are provided by the project, the only money you will need is some pocket money for activities in the weekend. No alcohol is allowed in the centre. We also recommend you to visit an asylum seekers centre in your own country before coming to Meihof in Belgium.
Please note there will be a Skype session to chat about your motivation and experience in order to accept your application.