The art of matching a buddy and a young refugee
Our partners in this project are Vormingplus Antwerp, JES vzw, Cemis (University of Antwerp) Atlas and Solentra. CURANT is a partnership between the city of Antwerp and several partners.
The art of matching
Lise (Vormingplus): “For Curant, four people of our team screen the volunteers and try to match them with one of the young refugees. My job is to coordinate all of that.
People who want to volunteer have very different backgrounds. Sometimes they were once refugees themselves, sometimes they never had any contact with refugees before. Some are highly educated, others are not.
If someone applies as buddy, we always want to know more about their motivation Perhaps the volunteer is attracted by the affordable housing CURANT provides. That’s okay, but it cannot be the only or main reason. We expect that our buddies support the young refugees, for example by doing activities together or helping with their administration. By doing small things, they help to integrate the young refugee. We don’t expect the buddy to be a social worker either. A social worker from the city of Antwerp supports both buddy and young refugee.
Buddy’s mostly have practical questions :
- How does the apartment look like?
- When do we move?
- How do I communicate with the refugee if his Dutch is poor?
We try to answer all of those questions as good as we can.
Afterwards, we try to find the best match. We consult with the project team of the city of Antwerp.
These people have to share a home together for a full year. It’s important that they get along!
It’s beautiful to witness those first encounters. It gives hope for a beautiful new world.”
Update: twelve new duo’s… and counting
At the moment, we have twelve enthusiastic cohousing-duo’s. Two of them live together since February. The others have recently moved or move into their new homes in the coming weeks.
And of course we keep looking for future matches!
Author: The CURANT project team