The Rixensart Refugees Centre accommodates people or families who have asked for asylum in Belgium. Refugees come from Syria, Irak, Iran, Congo etc. Many of them fled from war or from countries that were under a dictatorship or devastated by an ecological disaster. Thus they came to Belgium with dreams of stability, richness and comfort life. It is not, however, that easy to be allowed to settle in Europe, especially for somebody from the South or the East. Before these people may start their new lives, their refugees status has to be proven and accepted. While waiting for the documents that will enable them to remain legally in our country, the immigrants are accommodated in this centre in the Brussels vicinity.
People living there await the solution concerning their administrative status. They never know what tomorrow may bring to them. There is a possibility that they will not obtain the authorisation to remain in Belgium and will have to leave the country. But on the other hand, they might see their dreams come true and get the chance to take a new start in life.
Therefore, residents often found themselves owerhelmed by feelings of relief and anguish, hope and disappointment. The life of Rixensart Refugees Centre reflects these individual dramas and big international tensions. Refugees often come with their children, who attend the school in the village in order to help their integration in Belgium.
The volunteers will give a hand and a fresh air to the Centre’s animation team – sportive or social games, billiard, movie clubs, fitness for women, football tournament, craft etc.
To a lesser extent, It will depend of the weather, your team could have some activities as painting inside or outside maintenance of the park
They will be required to get actively involved in the daily life of the Centre. Half of the time will be devoted to proposals of activities for children and adults (according to the population currently present in the Centre).
The management team of the centre is very well used to work with volunteers as they have been hosting this workcamp for several years.
Volunteers will be lodged in a common room (dormitory) in a building next to the central one. Showers are accessible in a central building.
Meals will be provided by the Centre. Please, be aware that meals are simple. Vegetarian or any other diet should be announced in advance.
Rixensart is located in the Brabant Walloon province, 25 km from Brussels and 7 km from Wavre. The zone is highly urbanised and has all the usual conveniences, although, in the past, it used to be a rural and agricultural area. Thus, Rixensart still keeps its countryside charm but one can feel the proximity of Brussels (40 minutes by train, 20 by car). Refugees Centre is located outside the town centre, but in a walking distance from the famous local lake Genval, cinema, shops, supermarkets, train station.
The volunteers are required to be at least 18 year old and to have basic knowledge of French. They will also have to send us a short motivation letter in French as well as to answer a questionnaire for the Centre.
Besides, it is necessary to have knowledge of animation (songs, music, dance, plays…) and to be able to assume responsibility for a small group. In addition, it is recommended that they have an idea about the policy concerning refugees in their own country, what the public image of the refugees is there, the place that is assigned for them. Some of these issues might be put on the table during the evenings. Being able to listen to others is very important there. This kind of workcamp is a very rich personal and human experience. It makes people aware of the complexity of certain social conditions related to the great inequalities on our planet.
Alcohol is formally prohibited in the Centre.
The 27th of march at the Rixensart train station at 3.00pm
As a rule, kids are quite fluent in French thanks to school; adults take longer time to learn foreign language. The languages used between residents are very different – French, Russian, English, German… more than 15 in general and depend on current presence of residents.
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