Betonne Jeugd vzw is a youth organization for young people in poverty, youngsters in social vulnerable situations and homeless youth. The way we organize our society facilitates poverty and exclusion. Poverty is institutionalized in society’s services. Through structural social exclusion, people’s rights are endangered. Fundamental societal changes are needed to help ban poverty.
Betonne Jeugd pursues social emancipation and positive imaging of people in poverty.
Betonne Jeugd unites youth in their leisure time by offering a safe home base on wednesdays, fridays and saturdays. They can chill, cook and eat together, talk, paint, play football … be young and feel less troubled. And together with the youngsters we strive to change social structures that stand in the way of creating a more righteous society.
We use following methods to fight poverty and social exclusion:
The workers are reachable for the youth and listen actively to the boundaries the youth experience due to poverty. Trust, respect and acceptance are vital tools. They form a bridge figure to services, schools… and mediate when necessary.
We motivate the young people to be an active member of Betonne Jeugd by offering very accessible volunteer work. This is the first step to rebuilding the self-esteem of the members.
A safe home base: Threefold
A home is where you feel safe, a place to retreat or experiment. We create an atmosphere of safety for our youth.
A home base is a place where you can go freely. Walk in and out at all moments of your life, you are always welcome, you always know someone. The first reached youth now come with their children.
A home is a family, that’s what Betonne Jeugd is, one big family. We do not select the groeps bij youth, gender… We organise activities through the interests of our youth.
Challenging administration and services, our youngsters support each other and give each other the newest information. Some youngsters are buddy’s for other youngsters, like a big brother/sister.
Poverty is institutionalized in society’s services, to change this we collect the signals of participation boundaries from and with our youth and present these to actors who can change the situation. This from policy makers such as ministers, departments, city’s as schools, social organisations and services.
Impact on the lives of the youngsters
On a personal level:
Broadening of environment
Netwerk (formal and informal)
Not loitering on the streets, safe.
Higher chance of resuming education
Better mental health
Contact with positive role models
On the level of society:
Higher chance of labour
Better communication skills
Better understanding of administration and services
Impact on Society
Less loitering on the streets
Higher participation rates in society
Establishment of Dakuzie: A flemisch network connecting 1st, 2nd and 3rd line organisations in Flanders and Brussels to combat the homelessness of youngsters.
Woonreporters rapport together with Uit de Marge, A policy advice rapport in co-creation with homeless youth over Flanders.
Courses for educators, schools, services… Over poverty, homeless youngsters.
Film ‘Home street home’, a co-creative social film over homeless youth.
Co-establishment of JUMP with the partners of Mind the Gap Antwerp, a walk-in working for homeless youth in Antwerp.
Cooperative partner establishment Pension Van schoonhoven, a shelter for homeless youth in Antwerp.
Organisation and practice
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