Assisting asylum-seeker minors with shelter and education in France
Introduction to the Project
There are about 200 asylum-seeker minors on the streets of Lille, of which about 10% are girls. The minors are unassisted for 6 months, sometimes longer, as they wait the government’s decision to be declared/accepted as minors. During this time they are not given access to basic social services.
Main activities of the Good Practice
A diverse group of churches formed the Centre of Reconciliation which focuses its efforts on housing, schooling and providing administrative assistance to the youth. In 2018, 85 minors were hosted by 200 families and were organized into sectors as shown by the pins in the accompanying document. Another 30 youths were hosted by twenty others churches and parishes on a rotation basis. To make all the arrangements takes a lot of organization, as does keeping up with changes and organizing volunteers. A new location of a farmhouse will soon be open and able to host 15 youths and a small support team who will live on the premises to assist the them.
Results of the Good Practice
In 2018, the Centre helped find places for 90 youths in 40 local schools in the Lille area. 30 more youths could be enrolled, but they didn't have the required housing for them. In addition to this, the Centre has begun “School without Borders” to provide education for those who can’t go to school. 60 youth attend courses in French, maths, history, geography and computer information. Courses are taught by 20 different volunteer teachers. The Centre is paying the related monthly transportation costs of about 60 youths in order for them to access and receive these.