Vulnerable Minors in Brussels: Transition to Autonomy

Caritas International Belgium Vulnerable Minors in Brussels: Transition to Autonomy

© Isabel Corthier

© Isabel Corthier



Youth in transit




Since the 1st of August 2015


Unaccompanied Minors (MENA) having already obtained status (refugee or subsidiary protection) or a high rate of recognition


Life support towards autonomy, transition from material aid to social-financial aid.

The project

Our target audience is young people between the ages of 16 and 18 who have obtained status or have a high recognition rate and will therefore surely be granted status. The goal is to support their transition to independent living.

We have 16 places in 2 municipalities: Saint-Josse and Laeken.

These young people come from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia or Syria. “They are often suffering, have lived through things that are unimaginable. Learning to rebuild from all of this is far from simple,” comments Julie Demarez, our project manager.


For each youth, a referent, a professional collaborator of Caritas, is appointed. The latter goes to meet the youth in the reception center for asylum seekers, even before the move to our infrastructure. “There, an initial dialogue takes place and we explain to them our project. The important thing for us is to understand how the youth sees things and adapts to them,” adds Julie.

Another key element: to assess the degree of autonomy of the young person. “This is essential for us! This is the starting point for the construction of the accompaniment provided for the youth. On the practical side, the youth arrives here, signs his or her lease and will be responsible for his or her lodging, then, there is an internal regulation and an inventory is made. “

Scholarly priority

“The priority for us is to educate these young people. Therefore, paralleling the assessment of the youth’s autonomy, he or she also passes literacy, reading, and writing tests in order to evaluate the level of language and, more importantly, to better orient them. “


Once a month, often on Wednesday afternoon, the youths participate in various workshops organized by Caritas. “There, we discuss budget management, health education, citizenship, they cook together and learn to eat healthy…,” explains Julie. The team also organises sports and cultural activities: cinema, museum, amusement park, camps etc. These are privileged moments that make it possible to break the young person’s isolation, promote integration into the host society and develop active citizenship.

Help us


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