Masir Avenir: interview with Zardad

Published on
Thu, 30/01/2014 - 17:39

During the summer months, about 60 young people attended an integration course at bon. How are they doing today? We talked with Zardad, who now works part time at the BELvue Museum.

Who? Zardad Oriakhel
From: Afghanistan
Age: 16
In Belgium since: May 2012
Education: CDO Don Bosco in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe, studying for Warehouse Worker.
Integration programme at bon: Summer 2013

Zardad, last year you followed classes in the OKAN class of the Anneessens-Funck Institute. Where do you have your classes now?
I’m now in CDO Don Bosco in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe, studying for Warehouse Worker. I’ve never worked before, so I didn’t know what to choose. In full-time education, language is very important. That’s why I chose for part-time education. First I wanted to study Sales, but unfortunately you had to speak French for that.

You also work part-time in the BELvue Museum. How did you get this job?
I had some help from the school counsellor to get me started. I work in the museum shop, counting and sorting the books and emptying boxes.

Do you like the work?
I’m learning how to sort and how to work together as a team. That’s pretty new to me, since it’s my first job. Almost all my colleagues at the museum are Belgians, which allows me to practice my Dutch a lot. In school, there are lots of Afghans, so I don’t practice as much there. The work is quiet and easy, and the colleagues are very nice, just like my teachers. I make lots of new contacts here, and learn a bit on the history of Belgium.

You also attend school. What are you learning there?
I learn Dutch and have my classes – like math - in Dutch too. I also learn about sorting, how to drive a forklift and how to operate other warehouse machines. 

What would you like to do later?
I don’t really know yet. First I want to study for 2 more years. The combination of school and work is ideal for me. I would like to become a salesman, but I would need to learn French first, because I would like to stay in Brussels. I know my way around here and have my friends living here.

Your parents are still living in Afghanistan, what do they think of your work at the museum?
They’re very happy; they think it’s good that I’m working. They obviously prefer me working rather than going to the nightclub or getting into trouble.

This summer, you took part in Masir Avenir. What did you think?
The course was very interesting, much better than sitting at home for two months of doing nothing! I learned a lot about Belgium. I got to know the subways, trams and busses. I learned how to enrol for the National Health Service if I get sick. I’m 16 years old, but I live alone and have to do everything by myself. I hardly ever see my guardian, but luckily I have a social worker at the OCMW of Sint-Gillis who helps a lot.