The group of Afghan asylum seekers who have been occupying Béguinage church in Brussels for several months still hope they can make a future for themselves in Belgium. This message was written in a text handed to Béguinage church on Sunday. The text is the result of their discussions with a psychologist. The psychologist met the group after one of them died following a fight with another asylum seeker.
“During conversations about this traumatic experience, it became clear it couldn’t be psychologically separated from their life in the shadows,” explains psychologist Sarah Strauven. “We had to express that with words. This text is the result”.
“Our life is made up of permanent uncertainties”, the 25 asylum seekers say. “We do not understand why we cannot have protection here, seeing as we cannot go back home. We have talent and skills we can sell. The fact we are staying in a church could cost us our lives in Afghanistan. We don’t want any pity or charity, just a real chance to live a secure and dignified life”.
Their stay in Béguinage has taught them a lot, and helped them open their minds to the world. The members of the group come from different cultures and ethnicities. The refugees say they have become a very close-knit group.
During the discussion, they came up with the idea of making a model house out of recycled materials. “It’s a symbol of what we want, a place where we can feel at home”.