Although summer probably means holidays and sun for you, it is also a period in which NGOs and organisations are actively working to help refugees.
Few weeks ago, the Belgian authorities have been criticized by the European Commission as they are not making enough efforts to re-install the refugees. The situation is however alarming. As summertime is coming, more people will try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe and all these people are in needs. To give you an insight into the overall situation, about 12,000 people have been granted a refugee status in 2016, while more than 18,000 people had applied for an international protection in the Kingdom. And if you consider all the persons who have applied for two or three years, many of them did not have the “chance” to get documents. “There is no public information on it, the estimations are not precise” told Gilles Cnockaert, from Caritas.
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The last two years made clear that the Belgian government did not support all the refugees that were in Brussels. And although Theo Francken, the State secretary for Migration, stressed that he would comply with its international obligations, the controversial statements and policy he has been implementing over the last years are concerning for all the stakeholders which deal with refugees, as another source confirmed.
Furthermore, the story does not end when someone finally gets the documents. “Although a part of the applicants get the documents, they need to find a job and an accommodation. For many of them the city is very attractive, as the made relationships here and there offer more opportunities in terms of job” Gilles said. “The big issue is the accommodation”, he added. After a person got the statute of refugee, (s)he indeed has to leave the hosting structure where (s)he used to live within two months. But finding a place to leave while you do not have any job or money enough is a big deal, which can leave the people in disarray. “It is a vicious circle” Gilles told. And then, the people of course need assistance when it comes to social integration, language, school etc.
That is why dozens of NGOs are currently trying to face the situation as far as they can. Caritas, as well as the Red Cross, the CIRÉ (Coordinations et Initiatives pour Réfugiés et Étrangers), Plateforme citoyenne de soutien aux réfugiés and many other organisations, have been implementing initiatives to make the refugees’ life easier on the daily basis for years now. Most of them however do not have financial and human means enough to provide all the work they would like to provide. It is indeed highly difficult to implement all the projects they can provide, as they rely on volunteers.
Should you be interested in supporting the NGOs that deliver services (accommodation, food, language lessons etc.), it is definitely worth contacting one of them. You also can have a look at this Facebook page, which can provide you an insight into the different options to support the organisations.