sought for Brussels newcomers
The "CoNnect Brussels" buddy project is once again looking for people from Brussels who want to become a buddy for newcomers. The Buddy system is an attempt by the Flemish Community Commission in Brussels and the Federation for Global and Democratic Organisations to "strengthen, improve, make the reception of newcomers in Dutch-speaking organisations and networks in Brussels heartier and more sustainable".
The Buddy project has been matching people from Brussels with newcomers for two years now. More than ninety duos were formed so far. The aim is to make it easier for newcomers to find their way in Brussels and to master Dutch. The initiative has the support of the Dutch Language House as it helps to lower the language threshold and makes learning Dutch easier. The needs and interests of participants are gauged during an intake interview. This is followed by matching by CoNnect Brussels. The aim is for newcomer and buddy to meet at least twice a month and plan activities together.
"It is often not easy for new Brussels residents to build a new network. For six months, pairs spend leisure time together twice a month. “CoNnect believes it is important that the needs of the new Brussels residents are central," says project officer Fatime Altunbas of charity Federation for Global and Democratic Organisations.
"A big city can sometimes be anonymous and overwhelming. CoNnect Brussels puts newcomers in touch with buddies, who help them understand the city and its society. It’s a powerful initiative that we are happy to support so that it can grow," says Ans Persoons (Flemish socialist/One.Brussels-Vooruit), responsible for Culture, Youth and Sport in the Flemish Community Commission.