“Super Youth Worker”
Henegouwenkaai 29/6, 1080 Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Belgium
A practice of processes and methods
The aim of girls’ work is to create a space where girls can discover and develop themselves in a safe haven. Occasionally, connections can also be made with boys, but from a position that allows them the opportunity to always return safely.
In this environment, girls can be themselves in a secure manner, away from the watchful eyes of parents, older siblings, and others. They can forget about the responsibilities they have at home, such as caregiving tasks, and have the space to be a child or young person without obligations.
Girls can participate in a wide range of workshops after school. These may include cultural engagement, community work, neighborhood projects, or activities focused on personal self-development, combined with cooking, games, sports, and arts and culture.
During holidays, we have more time and space for larger excursions and to delve deeper into specific subjects. Weekends and camps are organized (with or without overnight stays, to be inclusive). While camps may also include boys, there is always a separate ‘girls’ house’ where boys are not allowed. This provides the girls with confidence and a sense of safety. The weekends and camps take place outside Brussels, allowing us to temporarily remove the girls from the stimulating environment of Brussels and let them explore nature.
Trust and a sense of responsibility are exchanged both towards themselves and towards us. We become a sort of secondary support in their upbringing and act as a safety net for when they need it. This can happen at various points in their lives, such as when things are not going well at school or when they are grappling with mental health issues. They feel comfortable coming to us with matters for which they may not have the space at home.
Through leisure activities, we strive to become a consistent presence in their lives. Even if they do not visit for several months or years, there is always room for them to return later. It is important to us that we remain their support system, and they are aware that they can come back.
In addition, we aim to encourage them to transition to, for example, an animation course. Seeing other girls within D’Broej take such steps inspires them to embark on a similar, tailored path. They are motivated by the girls around them and develop the confidence to pursue a comparable, personalized trajectory.
Core principles of youth work