For and by residents

We believe that our role is to offer asylum seekers the best possible support rather than to do everything for them and take decisions on their behalf.

Resident participation: what?

In keeping with the idea of empowerment, we work hard to foster resident participation. Our reception centers look for as many ways as possible to get residents actively involved in center life and the organization of all sorts of activities.

All support staff at our reception centers have completed basic training on resident participation with the aim of strengthening our resident participation approach. In 2012, support staff from the Alsemberg, Deinze, Linkeroever and Overpelt centers completed the training. All support staff can now incorporate resident participation into the functioning of their center.

Resident participation: why?

Asylum seekers at reception centers are involved in an ongoing asylum procedure. Uncertainty, the absence of loved ones and homesickness often weigh heavily on their morale. Meaningful leisure activities can help to take their mind off things, and making them responsible for certain aspects of daily life gives them back a feeling of control over their own lives.

Resident participation: how?

One way that residents are actively involved in center life is through monthly residents’ meetings. At these meetings they are given information about current affairs (e.g. a change in the asylum procedure) and the latest goings-on at the reception center (e.g. the organization of an open day). Residents can also put forward their own ideas and suggestions (e.g. creation of an Internet room). To ensure that all residents can participate in the discussion and understand what is said, we use official and unofficial interpreters and other forms of translation.

Often, working groups of residents and support staff are formed to prepare and implement specific activities. For example, they might think about a good way to arrange supervision of the Internet or fitness room, devise a schedule for cooking together, and so on.

Certain activities are organized entirely by residents, ranging from a sports tournament to a cultural trip or a training course for fellow residents. All the reception center does in these cases is provide logistical support.

Related items:

Bed, bath, bread 
Emergency reception 
In figures 
Guardians for unaccompanied minors 
Community engagement 
Holiday entertainment for children