Tandem is an initiative from the European Volunteer Center to get refugees, asylum-seekers and organizations learning, working, and growing together by helping as volunteers.
They set up Tandem to help and support refugees and asylum-seekers residing in Belgium, therefore the aim and the difference of this initiative from other volunteering is that it is done by those people who would need help from other people because of their situation.
With this initiative they try to facilitate their opportunities to contribute to the community, integrate into the Belgium society and support the restoration of their dignity and autonomy through initially short-term volunteer placements at different European organizations such as Eurogas, Jesuits Refugee Service, Caritas, EuroACE… These organizations are often concerned about the situation of refugees and asylum-seekers but may not have identified opportunities to directly support individuals in their local areas.
Do you want to volunteer?
Those who want to volunteer must be between eighteen and thirty and have a certain level of English, as well as computer literacy and any other languages like French or Flemish to add a strong value in the candidature. This knowledge is important to develop the administrative and communicative tasks such as supporting an event organization or making presentations and relations with schools about refugee inclusion.
Volunteers who have already participated in this initiative like Najeem say that the Tandem team gave him the opportunity to use his skills again and “feel like a productive member of society”, which gave him the motivation to even work harder for a brighter future.
Tandem is not just looking for volunteers; they are also looking for non-profit organizations (NGOs) since they will host volunteers providing them a workplace in the office or online. The cooperation between the organizations and the volunteer is a mutual benefit because as HOPE says about hosting Najeem, “Hosting a Tandem volunteer was an incredibly rewarding experience. We learned a lot from Najeem, both professionally and from a personal point of view. Given his knowledge of IT and design, we could get to know new programs and useful tips to use in the future. Also, knowing about his country, culture and history, about his personal life experiences and about what refugees have to go through during their journey to Europe is something I wish everyone could do”.