Volunteer stories: supporting young asylum seekers in Belgium

In August 2017, highly motivated high-school student, Daniel, joined other young people from around the world for two weeks to take part in a voluntary service project at the Bovigny Asylum Seeker Centre in Belgium.

Aged 15, Daniel joined one of UNA Exchange’s specially designed ‘teen camps’ for those under the age of 18.


“I think that refugees should have the same rights that other people have and deserve to live and work in a positive environment. I have always lived in communities with significant refugee populations and like mixing with people from different backgrounds and learning what they have experienced throughout their life.”

The Bovigny asylum seeker Centre specialises in hosting families and teenagers who have arrived in Belgium without their parents. The teenage volunteers share communal tasks, working, cooking and learning together, which develops self-confidence, autonomy and intercultural competences, as well as manual, social and linguistics skills.

A dynamic meeting between the international volunteers and residents of the asylum seeker centre, this summer all worked together to build a barbecue cooking area. This comprised construction of a concrete pad, assembly of a wooden shelter and installation of the barbecue.

“…this project is a great challenge that I aspire to complete leaving a lasting legacy.”

Through membership of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations, UNA Exchange works with the non-profit, non-political organisation the Association des Compagnons Bâtisseurs in Belgium to support the development of active citizens, sense of responsibility, criticism and solidarity.