Mentor Escale supports young refugees in corona times

During this unusual period, our partner Mentor Escale helps young, unaccompanied foreigners not to feel lonely and to keep developing their future. Coordinator Aurélie Fieremans of the Namur division explains: "Our mission is dual: on the one hand, we help young people individually with their daily life and their school work. On the other hand, we support the development of their social skills. Corona has a big influence on the latter. However, we try to maintain relations with these young people from a distance."

School comes first

When the government imposed the first corona measures, Mentor Escale co-workers immediately took the initiative to keep supporting young people in their studies. "In the current circumstances, it is a little more difficult to follow up on the pupils, but thanks to our partners, we could give them a few laptops. Participating youngsters also received internet access by means of Telecom operator hotspots, enabling them to work for school from a distance and us to coach them."

Connecting friends

Alhassan is 18, comes from Guinee-Bissau and lives alone in his apartment in Namur. "I try to keep busy, but it is not that easy. Fortunately, the laptop I received from Mentor Escale enables me to work for school. Physical exercise is what I miss most these days. Before the corona period, I often played soccer, but that is impossible now. Instead, I have many video contacts with my friends on Skype and in Facebook groups. I also cook a lot. My apartment is turning into a restaurant!' (Laughs)

Online school

Sarata is also from Guinee-Bissau, also 18 and has been participating in Mentor Escale projects for 4 years now. She lives in a studio in Liège and tells us about her daily activities. "I cook, I do laundry, I walk ... I do what I can to cover this period. I subdivide the time for my school assignments per subject and I have regular contacts with the school tutor. He started a Facebook group in order not to lose contact with our friends and school environment. I really miss my friends and human contact, but fortunately, we can stay connected in this way."

Remote coach 

17-year old Afghan student Noorul Hadi lives alone in a room in Brussels. The combination of quarantine and Ramadan is not easy for him. "At the beginning of the corona period, I ate all day long! Since I learned to cook, I love shopping and buying many fresh products. Now, I am trying to stay occupied otherwise. I study, teach my friends to speak French via WhatsApp and count the minutes to the next meal. I also go running twice a week. Indeed, I participate in five running contests every month. With everything being cancelled now, I regularly call my coach until I can resume my normal lift.

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