Participate in different projects at our energetic community in Herzeele, France



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    Last activity



 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    Notre maison est un collectif associatif engagé sur le territoire du Nord de la France, principalement autour de la commune de Dunkerque. L’association cherche à expérimenter de nouvelles initiatives, sur le territoire du nord de la France, où des situations d’errance humaine sont perpétuées. Dans ce contexte alarmant, notre maison se veut être une initiative citoyenne d’hospitalité. C’est une démarche ouverte à tous et à tous les talents.

    A travers l'aménagement et l'entretien d’espaces de vie partagés, nous questionnons l’acte d’accueillir. Dans une réflexion collective et critique, nous cherchons à développer des refuges d’un nouveau genre. En effet, nous pensons que le « vivre ensemble » s’imagine avant tout autour d’une table de cuisine, dans l’action et la rencontre. C’est une halte sur la route migratoire, qui se veut sécurisante à la fois physiquement et psychologiquement pour les exilé.e.s qu’elle héberge. Ici, tous ont accès aux besoins fondamentaux : s’abriter, se reposer, se nourrir, se laver et communiquer. Dans le même temps, notre maison se veut aussi être un lieu d’expérimentation, de création, d’imagination et de passion.

    Le premier bâti investi par le collectif est une maison localisée au coeur du village flamand d’Herzeele. Depuis novembre 2019, l'équipe y accueille des personnes exilées et vulnérables en situation d'errance dans la région. L'objectif est de proposer un lieu de vie serein, où ces personnes accueillies puissent sentir bien, se reposer et deviennent ensuite des accueillants pour les nouveaux arrivants. On y apprend le français, le kurde, l’anglais, l’arabe, le malinké ... On y joue, on y cuisine, on y cultive des fruits et légumes. On y aménage des fours à pain et on y vit tous ensemble.

    Sur ce site, plusieurs chantiers et évènements ouverts au public ont été organisés. C'est donc aussi un lieu de rassemblement et de retrouvailles pour ceux qui le souhaitent. En effet, nous attachons un grand intérêt à ouvrir ce lieu aux habitants du village et plus largement de la région afin de faire connaître l’association et développer les débats sur l’exil.

    Dans cette belle aventure, nous avons besoin de bénévoles motivés et prêts à nous aider pour plusieurs missions :
    - participer à l'entretien et au développement de la Maison et du jardin
    - créer des activités ludiques et sportives pour les enfants et leurs parents
    - participer à l'apprentissage du français et de l'anglais pour ceux qui le souhaitent
    - conduire les personnes accueillies vers des lieux d'accompagnement médicaux, sociaux et juridiques
    - participer à la vie quotidienne de la Maison
    Nous sommes aussi une équipe ouverte à toutes nouvelles propositions que vous pourrez nous faire, en fonction de vos envies et de connaissances !

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    Our House is a collective working in Northern France, mostly around the area of Dunkirk. We are wanting to experiment with new ways of working at the English-French border, where displacement is perpetuated. In this alarming context, our House wants to be a citizens’ initiative of hospitality - a multidisciplinary approach, that is open to all.

    As we create collective living spaces, we question the act of welcoming. Through cohabitation and joint reflection, our spaces evolve, helping us to develop shelter of a new kind. We think that “living together” starts around a kitchen table, with interactions and encounters. Our House hopes to provide a stopover on the migration journey, providing physical and mental wellbeing for those we host. Here, everyone has access to basic needs: shelter, rest, food and water. At the same time, our House is intended to be a place of experimentation, creation, imagination and passion.

    The first building used by the collective is a house, located at the heart of the Flemish village of Herzeele. Since November 2019, our team is welcoming displaced people there, who are living rough in Northern France. The objective is to offer a restful living space, in which people who are welcomed can feel comfortable, can rest, and can partake in hosting themselves. Together, we are learning French, English, Kurdish, Arabic, Maninka.. We play, we cook, we pick fruit and vegetables, we bake bread and live together.

    Across this site there are several renovation projects and events open to the public that have been organised. It is therefore also a place for people to gather, and to plan changing the world or simply have a cup of tea. As such, we put a lot of importance on opening this space to the inhabitants of the village and of the region, in order to have our project known in the area and to have an impact on discussions around migration. They are places for resilience which are being built and celebrated over and over again!

    In this beautiful adventure, we need volunteers who are motivated and ready to help on several missions:
    - participate in taking care and develop the house and the garden
    - create fun creative and sports activities for children and their parents, hosted at the house
    - participate in teaching French and English for those who wish to learn
    - drive people who are hosted at the house to legal, social, and medical appointments and services
    - partake in the daily life at the house
    We are also a team open to propositions and ideas that you might have, based on your wishes and skills !

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    General Maintenance
    Farmstay help
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
    Animal Care
    Charity Work
    Language practice
    Art Projects

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    This will be an incredibly rich experience ! There are a lot of reflections behind the project that you would be a part of, regarding migration, integration, the environment, agriculture, human rights, charity work... As this is a project that is under construction, you would be an active member of building it with us ! You will be working alongside people who are driven, who constantly think about how to do the right thing, and how to live an ethical life. We are an energetic community who want to try out different things and think about how to apply our values in tangible ways. So join us on this experience of a lifetime !

  • Help


    The House is fully volonteer-led and volunteer-run. We work in a supportive team, to help each other fulfill our tasks. It is most important to be energetic and driven, as a lot of the skills will be learnt by doing ! We need the following profiles of volunteers :

    - A steward to manage the community, to make sure that everyone is implicated in the daily life and daily tasks on site. This includes the management of food stocks, of wood provision, of trash, all with an environmentally conscious approach. The steward will be in charge of organising and keeping rotas, and leading meetings and discussions to facilitate working and living together.

    - A volunteer case worker to follow individual cases of people in the house. This means knowing the array of services available in the vicinity and ensuring that everyone's need (in terms of medical attention, legal advice and administrative situation) are being addressed by a professional. This involves keeping trace of cases and helping in taking appointments and attending them.

    - A maintenance volunteer to help in fixing things around the house. As the collective will have around 20 people on the house site, we expect to regularly have things that need fixing. We have a full workshop will all the tools and machinery that could be needed, so the maintenance volunteer can use them, and make sure that they are well kept. That person is also welcome to lead activities to teach practical skills to people on site, to encourage people fixing things themselves.

    The refugees welcomed on site are coming from many different countries and speak a myriad of languages. This diversity requires a lot of flexibility, and a will to learn. We work in a truly multicultural environment. Living in a community with refugees who have had a difficult past can also be a heavy emotional toll. Volunteers must be resilient and prepared to work in an intense environment.

    We are looking for volunteers over 21, who are willing to be involved for at least one month. It's important to have some knowledge in the area that you wish to volunteer for and a desire to live on site (accommodation provided). Holding a driving license is also important and having your own vehicle would be very helpful. It would be helpful (but not mandatory) to have worked with a vulnerable public in the past, and to speak Kurdish, Farsi, Arabic, or Pashto. Having past experiences in organising workshops and activities would also be a plus ! But these are also things that you can learn on site !

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Kurdish: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    You will be staying either in rooms on site, maybe shared spaces (depending on length of stay and gender, as some spaces are female-only). This will be provided free of charge. We place a big importance on sustainability for volunteers, so we will do everything in our capacity to make sure that you are warm and comfortable. Food will be provided free of charge as well: supermarkets in the area donate the items they can no longer sell. We will be taking turns for the cooking, cleaning and washing up.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The area is beautiful ! We are close to Belgium, to Flanders fields, to Lille and Dunkirk, to the beach... we have bikes available on site that you can borrow to cycle around. And we regularly go out together for evenings and events. So we guarantee a fun time !

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 274242476586