Reintegration partners in Brussels

Caritas International Belgium Reintegration partners in Brussels

© Sofie De Mot

© Sofie De Mot

21/06/2019

Bridging the gap between realities in different countries, listening to and learning from each other, that was the goal of our partner week, taking place this week. Representatives from various NGOs and governments gathered in Brussels, in order to better accompany people who are returning to their country of origin.

“Those returning to Nepal, mostly do so after a very long time: 10 to 20 years”, says Julian from Caritas Nepal. “Expectations are high,” adds Fabiana, who is from Brazil. “When you return from Europe, people think you’re rich.” Fabiana and Julian are two of the local reintegration partners, who accompany returnees in the countries of origin. They help them get their lives back on track, each in their own way, as the situation is different in every country. From Brazil over Ghana and Russia to Nepal: each partner has its own challenges, depending on the country, the profile of the returnees and other factors such as individual characteristics or previous migration experiences.

European approach

Also in Europe, the situation is different for each country. European partner institutions of the ERRIN network explained how they approach reintegration. The reintegration assistance varies in each country, as well as the preparation before return.

To Caritas International it is very important to support migrants, both before returning and when they arrive in their country of origin. By discussing the possibilities beforehand, the returnee knows what to expect. This makes it easier for both the local partner and the returnee.

Social reintegration

Under certain circumstances, returnees can qualify for financial reintegration assistance and start their own project in consultation with the reintegration partner. But other aspects are at least equally important: “You can’t just look at the economic side,” says Shimray from India. “You also have to consider social re-integration, for example acceptance by the family. We also have a peer support system: returnees can meet up and gain back their confidence.”

Caritas International is also a member of ERSO, a European network of NGOs working on qualitative return counselling and capacity building by working with the same partners in the countries of origin. Here as well, we see the importance of medical care, family, a house, an income… Those are the first things that have to be in order when returning, and thus the priorities of Caritas’ local partners. We always have to consider the best interest of the returnee, also in the long term.

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