Refugee action

On the ground
University of Namur took the responsibility to assist refugees in their integration in the community of Namur.

Context

As we are faced with one of the largest population migrations that Europe has known in recent times, we have a duty to assist. It’s a matter of compassion, values and respect for human beings. In this context, along with other institutions and resident associations, the University of Namur (UNamur) acts in a targeted and useful way.

Objectives

Since October 2015, UNamur has sustained several experiences surrounding the assistance of refugees. This assistance is mainly in regard of the administrative procedures they have to go trough, their search for housing and their integration. The objective is to offer them a concrete support.

Implementation

Implementing this mission and its objectives has five facets: transit housing and familiarization with the Namur environment, personalized guidance, a French language class, a proofreading of experience and support in their permanent housing search.

The first facet consists of five transitory dwellings that have been put to the use of families, with children, who have a refugee status. These dwellings have been paired with a familiarization with the access of different services in Namur: health services, integration services (CAI, FOREM, etc.), the schools system, the banking system, the food system, the transport system and the commercial, cultural and social environment.

The second facet is a personalized guidance intended to refugee for a search of a study programs. In the beginning, a special attention is given to the French courses offered in Namur. Then, there is an enrollment as a regular or free student at UNAMUR. During these two stages, the following points are addressed: temporary accommodation of isolated students that attends classes in the city and the subsistence of people who have no outside help. Lastly, there are searches for programs more adapted to the situation of each one trough all of the Universities in Belgium.

The third facet is the offer of the French class Français Langue Étrangère (FLE). This class has been developed essentially for refugees and it comes from a tight partnership between the Haute École Namur Liège Luxembourg, with its FLE section, and the Belgian Senior Consultant Wallonie. This class has two directions:

- An on-site class at the Moretus Plantin Library and online classes.

- Pilot projects for internships in professional environments, chosen consequently with the training of individuals

The fourth facet is the activities for families and children. These activities are organised in order to do a proofreading of experiences. They take place once a week during the afternoon and they are supported by internships students from the Hellanux sports and institutors section.

Finally, to fallow the offer of transitory dwellings, an individual guidance is offered for a permanent housing search. This guidance is also given for a job search, and, when appropriate, for the drivers licence exam. 

These five facets involve a considerable number of actors such as UNamur departments, city services and a diversity of non profit organisations. Obviously, volunteers are added to this enumeration. 

These actions are financed trough UNamur, the Namur province, the Agence es Université Francophones and other limited institutions. The Région Wallone and the Eurepean regional development fund (ERDF), European Union’s funds have been solicited. Finally, UNamur receives in-kind donations such as furnitures. 

Results

Quantifiable results:

- 5 dwellings were made available

- 52 participants attended the on-site class of Français Langue Étrangère

- 65 participants attended the online class

- 5 people have benefit from an insertion experience in a work place

 Additional informations

For questions about the actions undertaken and coordinated by the UNamur and its partners, please contact the team at the rector’s office:

Charles Debois - charles.debois@unamur.be

Albert Evrard sj – albert.evrard@unamur.be

Claire Lobet-Maris - claire.lobet@unamur.be

Désiré Ndikuriyayo - desire.ndikuryayo@unamur.be

Carine Toumson - carine.toumson@unamur.be