Empowerment

EMPOWERMENT

Women, youth and children are among the most vulnerable in a refugee crisis. We run empowerment programmes in our centres and elsewhere, to provide them with the means of gaining an income, of knowing themselves and developing confidence in new environments, and of becoming active and supportive members of their communities.

WOMEN'S CENTRES

The challenges faced by refugee women are diverse. Some will have lost husbands to the conflict, others children. As a result, many face the difficult transition of becoming a breadwinner for their family, at the very moment that they need the time and space to grieve the loss of their family, friends, and home.

SB Overseas has established a number of dedicated women’s training centres near refugee camps. Three of our women’s centres are located in Lebanon, on the same premises as our education centres there in Beirut, Arsal and Saida; a fourth centre is located in Kilis, Turkey.

Our programmes in the women’s centres are designed to empower women in an economical, psychological and social sense. The primary focus is to provide vocational training in a marketable skill, to provide single mothers and other women with a means of earning an income in a new country. The training we offer includes courses in sewing, embroidery, knitting, doll making, jewellery, and hairdressing. We supplement this training with efforts to market their skills and products, by hosting and attending small exhibitions where we sell their products, by supporting them in setting up their own businesses, and by helping them to find a stable job in a local business.

In our centres, we also offer a programme of psychological and social support to women. Through a number of creative and social activities, we offer a safe space for conversation and discussion among the women, helping to create a network of mutual support, which is so important in building stronger communities.

While the women take part in these programmes, we provide day care for their children, so that they can fully focus on their own development, safe in the knowledge that their children are in a safe and stimulating environment. In our Bukra Ahla centre in Beirut, this day care is provided on our premises by a team from Save the Children.

YOUTH

Young people in disadvantaged communities everywhere are motivated to make something of their lives, even as the efforts of institutions tend to focus on the youngest and the most frail. Meanwhile, many young refugee women find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation, due to social and economic pressures.

In our flagship Bukra Ahla centre in Beirut, we began a new programme for young refugee women in September 2016. The focus is to provide education and social support, to protect them against the particular threats they face, such as early forced marriage. We offer them a citizenship programme, based on developing their self-respect, assertiveness and solidarity, while at the same time engaging with their families and communities to raise awareness of the dangers of early marriage.

Meanwhile, in Brussels we run two civic engagement programmes for youth living in underprivileged neighbourhoods: S’engager pour la paix and Dream Team.

S’engager pour la paix brings together girls between the ages of 12-16, while Dream Team is open to boys from 14-18. The participants in these programmes come together on weekends to share their experiences of adolescence, as well as to discuss civic themes and values. The emphasis is on participation in peace building and solidarity, with participants in both programmes encouraged to lend a hand running our events, collections and other activities for refugees in Brussels.

In Brussels, we also run a programme called SB Weekend, where we provide a programme of citizenship education and intergration support for unaccompanied refugee minors living in holding centres in Brussels.

The youth in these centres come from all over the world, and find themselves in an unfamiliar environment, having left their homes to go through an often traumatic journey into and across Europe. Through creative, constructive and sporting activities, we help them learn to find their feet in a new society, and how to understand and live in harmony with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

This programme is run entirely by part-time volunteers. If you live in the Brussels area, and are interested in taking part, please head here for more information.

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteers are a vital component at SB Overseas. They ensure the successful conception and delivery of our projects, including teaching in our schools in Lebanon, collection campaigns for clothing and food, as well as youth civic engagement programmes. Our volunteering programmes offer opportunities for young people to experience new roles, responsibilities and cultures.

PEACE BUILDING

SB Overseas is active in promoting peace building and awareness of refugee and community issues. Our activities have notably included participation in conferences organised by Religions For Peace.

SB Overseas: a Belgian grassroots non-profit organisation