BEING A WOMAN IS A VULNERABILITY
Either for political or personal reasons, some women are forced to leave their everything behind and come to Belgium, sometimes with one or more children to support. Being a woman creates extra vulnerabilities in their country of origin, on their migration journey, and in Belgium. Chantale, a resident in the Louvranges Housing, explains, “Certain struggles only affect women. if you are a single woman, you lose rights.” For women like Chantale, the Louvranges Housing is a place where they can settle, meet others, and share their often-traumatic experiences, while waiting for a response to their application for international protection.
In order to progressively lead these women to their autonomy, this housing links the individual structure of the housing (which is indispensable with respects to private and family life) to life in a community by offering moments for exchanges and meetings as well as fun and educational workshops.
Wednesday afternoons, children can participate in activities specifically designed for them; moreover, they enjoy daily school support. On their side, mothers learn to sew, knit, and speak or perfect their French. Information sessions (with a translation team) are also organized around subjects as diverse as waste sorting and healthy eating.
Little by little, these moments of relaxation and learning allow them to leave their solitude, regain serenity, and to develop social relationships all while starting their integration process.
A moment of relaxation at Louvranges – Isabel Corthier
Follow-up and Support
We established a professional team to ensure the daily management of the Louvranges Housing and to guarantee psychosocial and legal follow-up with residents. Furthermore, this project partly relies on the work of volunteers who, for the most part, come from the surrounding neighborhood, but there are also volunteers who are doing their European Voluntary Service (EVS). Margot Duclay, a volunteer who started in 2020 testifies: “I gained a human experience thanks to the relationships that I formed with the women, what they say about their culture, their country of origin… and thanks to the inner strength that they have.”