The dream

Our end goal, our dream, is that every shelter for children and youths on the run will work together with local youth work.

More and more refugees arrived in Flanders the past few months – some with their parents or relatives, others completely by themselves. They entered our country coming from all corners of the globe, looking for a safe haven and a future.

For most of them, the journey wasn’t easy. And for most of them, the road that lies ahead has many roadblocks still. Getting used to a new country, a new language, dealing with tragedy... it’s not easy. Getting into contact with other youths in this new environment is crucial. Playing, hanging out, simply being allowed to be a ‘kid’ or ‘adolescent’. It helps them get integrated on one hand, and it will widen the perspective of local children as well.

The youth sector wants to mean something concretely in that process. If there’s anything that youth work is good at, it’s making kids and adolescents stronger. Youth work is a place where you get an opportunity to be young, have fun and get into touch with others, carefree. We want to use those strengths for young refugees who found their homes here.

Lots is happening already: local youth movements are spontaneously visiting asylum centres in their neighbourhood and getting active with the kids and youths. We like to give these initiatives the attention they deserve, but not only that. We will organise this as a sector, both structurally and long term.

In order to be able do that in a proper fashion, one that is lasting, we will need to educate ourselves and have our youth learn from each other – which is why we have started several experiments, which all fall under the label ‘Wereldspelers - or GloBall in English’.

Every two weeks, since April 2016, a group of youth work olunteers spends a full weekend in the centre for unaccompanied minor refugees in Dendermonde. We will continue to do so until the end of 2016. After that, the local youth movements in Dendermonde will continue our beautiful project.

As from November 2016, we’ve been organising weekends in the care shelter of Lint. Teams of volunteers lead activities with young refugees here as well for full weekends, and afterwards they share their experiences and pointers with other youths.

Youngsters inspiring other youths, it always proves to be a winning formula.

In 2016, at least 300 young volunteers from all over Flanders will participate in Wereldspelers, and spend a weekend in Dendermonde or Lint. The goal in 2017 is to get at least 400 volunteers, and after that...

Follow it all on social media using the hashtag #wereldspelers