Aminata Kalo is sometimes referred to as Mother Courage. She calls herself ‘une belle forte’, a beautiful strong woman. And rightly so: she came to Belgium as a desperate and illiterate woman, but came a long way and recently bought her own house in Brussels. Her programme counsellor Awet went to see her for an interview.
By Awet Desta Aregawi and Marianne Buyck
bon is not just for newcomers: in the last few years, more and more ‘oldcomers’ have been following an integration programme as well. Students like Imane, Sam, Kristopher and Krasi, who have been living in Belgium for 5, 7 or 10 years. Some oldcomers follow an integration course to get Belgian citizenship, others are mainly looking for a social network or a job. Interview by Marianne Buyck en Liesbeth Sacré
This summer, bon will be offering its sixth integration course tailored to 16-17-year-old newcomers, also known as “Masir Avenir” (“The Road to the future”). We’re still looking for participants. Do you know any eligible youngsters?
bon has entered in a two-year international research project: “Local Welcoming Policies EU migrants”. The project was launched early this year in 7 European cities: Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Dublin and Goteborg.
Ouiam El Boutahiri (30 years old, Morocco) has been living in Belgium since 2010 and took the social orientation course at bon in August 2014. Ouiam volunteers at vzw Babbelkot for three nights a week. Ouiam also volunteers at vzw Cultureghem, helping out with Collectmet on Sundays.
Mahmoud is a young man with a passion for flowers. Two years ago, he fled Syria and came to Belgium. He followed the bon integration programme and went in search for training opportunities. Today he's taking the Florist training at COOVI. You can watch the video here!
From January 1st 2015, bon is part of the “Agentschap Integratie en Inburgering". The Agency supports the Flemish integration policy. The Agency collects all social and civic integration, social translation and interpreting services (except in the cities Ghent and Antwerp). We'll continue to provide quality service. More information: www.integratie-inburgering.be.
bon and Globe Aroma are celebrating in La Tentation on Friday 5 December 2014!
During autumn break, the youngsters of Masir Avenir 2014 came to visit bon again. Each afternoon, bon organised an activity with project LOYO (Living On Your Own). LOYO offers holiday activities during school holidays for 40 young people, as well as weekly mentoring and support on Wednesday afternoons.
Safia would like to live without an adjective attached to her surname; like her origin or her colour. She wants to be someone who's able to fit in everywhere quickly. She sees herself as a world citizen who doesn't let her roots limit her. Everybody is connected: she is one of the many people who have come to Brussels from various countries and feel at home.