Young asylum seekers in Belgium may be given the chance to volunteer, and young people from Belgium can lend a hand in reception centres, State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor announced on Monday
The minister made her comments during a visit to the Platform for Citizen Service, in a community centre in Schaarbeek.
Fedasil and the organisation Platform for Citizen Service will be joining forces for the purpose of assisting young asylum seekers and Belgians, aged between 18 and 25, to get involved and volunteer for six months at one of the 800 member organisations of Platform for Citizen Service. Last year, the initiative engaged over 600 young people.
"Young asylum seekers are often very motivated and want to mean something. Through cooperation with Platform for Citizen Service, they get the chance to volunteer. This way, they can gain experience and improve their knowledge of the language," explained de Moor.
Benefits young people and society
This is not the first time Fedasil and Platform for Citizen Service have worked together. In the past, such an initiative already took place on a small scale in Wallonia and Brussels.
Over the past three years, 80 young asylum seekers participated in voluntary service. In addition, more than 50 young people in Belgium engaged in various reception centres. The new cooperation agreement extends that cooperation to many more centres. "It is a cooperation that benefits the young people and society," de Moor stated.
"The Platform for Citizen Service promotes citizenship and personal growth among young people through voluntary engagement, training and personal counselling. Through this, young people develop language and social skills, build self-confidence and a network, and acquire skills essential for their personal and professional development," Serafine Vanschoenwinkel of the Platform for Citizen Service explained.
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Voluntary engagement provides young people with the tools needed to actively participate and make valuable contributions to society, according to Vanschoenwinkel. "The Platform's partnership with Fedasil will significantly increase this positive impact on the integration of young newcomers into society."