CONTEXT: A NEW RECEPTION CRISIS
You regularly hear of conflicts in certain parts of the world and the living conditions in which people in exile find themselves in. Among them, young minors who have lost their parents, isolated women with or without children, or families and individuals who had no choice to leave everything to survive. Some of them turn to Belgium to seek protection.
What is less publicized, but nonetheless real, is the crisis in reception of those seeking international protection to which our country must respond. This observation has obliged Fedasil – the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers – to take emergency measures to ensure reception to all people seeking protection in Belgium.
In this context, Caritas International has been mandated to receive and support more than one hundred of these vulnerable people waiting for a response. In addition to a reception center in Scherpenheuvel, there is also reception and supervision in Ransart (Charleroi).
ACTIVITIES: QUALITY AND CUSTOMIZED SUPPORT
The applicants for international protection have the right to reception throughout the asylum procedure. This accommodation includes housing, but also meals, clothing, social and psychological support as well as access to legal aid, a daily allowance and professional training.
At Ransart, a multidisciplinary team of about 25 employees ensures a 24/7 presence and keeps up with residents and their daily lives. They can also count on the support of enthusiastic volunteers!
>>ALSO READ: Search for volunteers in Ransart (Charleroi) (FR/NL)
Marlène Lescrainier, who was in charge of the opening of the reception center: “The skills of the team are varied just as the needs of the residents. And the tasks of the team are diverse: supervision and support in the daily lives of welcomed persons, diffusion of information, and advise and orientation, in the different aspects of their future lives.”
This can range from the integration of children into a school environment, support with the (re)construction of a social network, training, employment, search for housing after the positive outcome of the protection procedure, etc. A psycho-social follow-up is also ensured by the implementation of an individual and customized accompaniment.
FOCUS: ASSISTANCE WITH THE ASYLUM PROCESS
The people staying in the center are people in vulnerable situations who have requested international protection (asylum) in Belgium. They are minors, families, couples, or isolated individuals. They are accommodated and supported throughout the examination of their application, which takes anywhere between 4 to 18 months.
“Because of their vulnerability, residents have a great need for individual and quality legal support during the procedure. This way they can understand it, be part of it, and better understand the decisions which then appear to be more legitimate,” explains Marlène Lescrainier, on the focus of procedural assistance. The support provided by the Caritas team includes informing, orienting, and advising them on the choices that arise within the framework of asylum or residence procedure and the right to reception.
Contact the person is charge? Find here to contact details of Marlène Lescrainier, who is in charge of the reception center in Ransart.