SB Espoir is a volunteer-led programme of citizenship education and integration support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors living in asylum centres in Brussels.
We organise engaging activities and workshops with international volunteers every weekend for the unaccompanied minors living in three reception centres for asylum-seekers in Brussels.
We work with the Fedasil (federal agency for asylum-seekers) centers in Neder-Over-Heembeek and in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, and the Red Cross centre in Uccle.
SB Espoir targets two groups:
- In the two Fedasil centres, we focus on citizenship, trust and integration activities with unaccompanied minors who have just arrived in Brussels. These Centres of Observation and Orientation (COO) with a capacity of approximately 50 youths are the first-line centres, in which the youth remain up to 4 weeks before being transferred to an accommodation centre while their asylum claim is processed. As a result of the short stay of the youth in these COOs, the activities focused on the immediate needs of the youth, which consist of fostering trust, communication and team spirit to the youth finding themselves in an alien environment and in a common reception centre.
- The centre of the Red Cross in Uccle has a capacity of around 50 unaccompanied minors (exclusively boys) in which the youth remain for the duration of the processing of their asylum claim, going from 4 months up to 2 years. For this centre, the activities draw on themes of integration and inclusion, professional aspirations and citizenship with unaccompanied minors who are due to leave the centre once their request for asylum is processed or they turn 18. The objective of this programme is to build a bridge between these youths in the centre and the local communities in order to foster integration by involving local organisations and volunteers. Every Saturday, the SB Espoir team and volunteers carried out activities with the youth on a wide range of themes and objectives.
These activities focus not only on working on a number of themes with the youth, ranging from discovering professions, such as bike fixing with Cactus Bike asbl, to visiting the Royal Observatory, but also on partnerships with local organisations in order to create a network for the youth. In 2018, SB Espoir entered into 16 partnerships with local organisations, ranging from learning about negotiation skills with the Pathways Institute for Negotiation Education to the 4-week art workshop with the artist Lina Kunaite.
See the stories of these partnerships.
SB Espoir also participates in campaigns like clothes collections to donate to the centres, participation in numerous meetings and event, such as the General Assembly of European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).
Our commitment to these refugees has lasted beyond these initial efforts. With most refugees now in asylum centres or private accommodation, we see SB ESPOIR as an important way of supporting their successful integration into Belgian society.
Interested in supporting our work? Explore the different ways you can get involved and support our work here.