Making your way in society
It all started with a chance meeting. In 1993 the manager of the company, François Casier, happened to cross paths with a young Romanian. He was alone without his parents, a refugee in Belgium, and had to find some way of making a living. For him, this was a first glimpse of the day-to-day reality of unaccompanied foreign minors (UFMs). And he decided to create a structure so that these teenagers would no longer be simply abandoned to their fate. Mentor-Escale has been taking care of them now for over 20 years.
“Once they leave reception centres, they are left to their own devices to find housing, register at school and at the CPAS,” explains Bénédicte Adnet, executive director of Mentor-Escale. “That’s where we come in. Our aim is to help them develop their independence progressively and equip them with the means to make their way in Belgian society.” The association works on two main themes: individual personalised support and group activities.