In response to the current refugee crisis, the King Baudouin Foundation is working to create solutions to the problems now facing Belgian society.

The Foundation will be offering support to organisations and reception structures in three areas:

  • Providing information and raising awareness among populations who live close to reception centres
  • Providing a framework for citizen initiatives to offer guidance to refugees
  • Social interpreters to aid the reception process

On Wednesday 23 September the Board of Governors of the Foundation decided to make available 900,000 euros immediately and release a further 4 million euros in 2016 and 2017 to finance a programme for the integration of refugees in Belgian society.

The Foundation has been working in the area of integration of migrants for more than 10 years.

It could not stand aloof from the plight of people who are seeking asylum in Europe at the risk of their own lives as they flee from war and violence in their own countries and seek to build a new life here.

After discussions with the Cabinet of Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken, together with Fedasil and the main NGOs working in this area, the Foundation has identified three areas of activity in which more can be done at this time.

1. Providing information and raising awareness among people living close to the new reception centres:

The King Baudouin Foundation will make 300,000 euros available to raise awareness among people who live close to the 15 new asylum centres that will be created by the end of 2015 and administered by Fedasil, Het Rode Kruis and la Croix-Rouge.

2. Initiatives to create a framework for voluntary action by citizens and manage donations (sponsorship programmes, neighbourhood initiatives etc.):

The King Baudouin Foundation will make 250,000 euros available to the umbrella organisations supporting local initiatives by citizens and asylum seekers (Caritas Belgium, Red Cross, Ciré, Flemish Refugee Action).

Through a call for projects launched by the Foundation itself, 100,000 euros will be distributed to support 11 sponsorship projects. The aim is for guidance to be provided to refugees (including unaccompanied minors) by citizens to help the refugees to gain a better understanding of Belgian society and find his or her way through the various steps that need to be taken.

3. More social interpreters

The King Baudouin Foundation will distribute a total of 250,000 euros among the three integration agencies in Belgium that make translators and interpreters available to various social services, with the intention of recruiting extra staff.

 

Making integration succeed in the medium and long term

In the medium and long term it will be vital to ensure that refugees are successfully integrated within the fabric of society. Huge challenges are emerging in the areas of housing, language learning, education, employment, citizenship, in the area of culture and religion etc.

The Foundation also aims to provide support in this area. The themes and methods will be selected through consultations with the regional ministers responsible for this domain and with civil society. In view of the scale of the need, the Board of Governors has decided to set aside 2 million euros in 2016 and a further 2 million in 2017.

 

For more information contact:

Joss Abrahams at abrahams.j@kbs-frb.be