The House is a charity that supports refugees in Northern France. We
- create welcoming spaces to provide shelter and access to basic human rights,
- follow through individual cases, namely for medical, social and administrative support,
- orient people towards other accommodation options, depending on their adminstrative situation, towards public services.
This winter, the charity is being lent a space for 6 months, for a temporary welcoming project. It's a farm in the flemish village of Herzeele, between Lille and Dunkirk. The winter period is particularly difficult for refugees, due to the lack of space in emergency housing. The project of the farm is thus a modest response to this need.
We work within a network of humanitarian charities, independant volunteers, and local authorities. We think that a wide and diverse cooperation is needed for important changes to happen. The people we support come from a large array of countries and speak many different languages. This diversity means that we have to be flexible and have a strong will to learn new things.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
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 !
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 social 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 farm. As the collective will have around 20 people on the farm 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.
- A farming volunteer to help manage outdoor spaces. This includes preparing the fields to be cultivated in the spring, looking after the chicken pen and the goats, caring for the orchard. This is all happening within a community that's motivated for these tasks to be carried out together. You are encouraged to be initiative-driven and to propose experiments on site, especially in terms of raising awareness and working together with people who are welcomed on site.
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 !
French, English, Spanish, Kurdish
You will be staying either in caravans or wooden huts on site, or within the main building (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.
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 !
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week