Connecting local responses around the world
Support team: Dutch Competence
First activities with SALT and CLCP: 2010
Joke and Birgitta have been exploring with a Dutch NGO on how to support the sustainable integration of refugees in their local neighbourhoods in the Haarlem region. They were very much inspired to do this after hearing the experiences from the ‘Et Après’ Community of Belgium, a group of former asylum seekers who used SALT since 2008 to take the lead on their own local integration. With the flood of people seeking asylum in the Netherlands, this seems to be a hot topic where SALT can really make a difference.
To transfer the Belgian success story and inspire our Dutch friends, Joke and Louis-Marie, from ‘Et Après’, co-facilitated a special facilitators training: on how to use SALT for self-organisation and integration of immigrants. With the support of Birgitta, the facilitators visited a lot of impressive local initiatives in Amsterdam like Safe Haven where undocumented women can work towards their future, ‘We are here’ a grassroots initiative for assistance for and by refugees, Buurtzorg, a famous organisation for community health services that has self-directed teams (no managers), Syrian refugees (SYVNL) established in response to the Syrian crisis by a group of young Syrians living in the Netherlands, The World House where people without a staying permit can come for information, personal advice and to develop their own initiatives, and the Neighbourhood Cooperation (OHG). After a very inspiring weekend, the facilitators all went their own ways to do even more SALT visits together and applied SALT in their different contexts. Here some of their stories…
These are just some examples… What is also very encouraging is that the Dutch facilitators are reaching out to connect with other countries. Facilitators Marlou, Rituu and Autry were all received at an international meetup for a round of SALTy stories sharing and, through personal friendships, we are exploring the possibility of organising a learning festival in February with Dutch and Belgium situated facilitators.
In a world where a lot of things happen over which we seem to have no control, SALT is bringing us together to share inspiring stories of what we CAN do and encourage each other to keep our dreams alive and work towards it. To say it with the words of facilitator Elif: “Changing the world may seem difficult, but it begins with one person.”
Prepared by Joke D’haese, with inputs of Birgitta Schomaker