Back 2016 in Brussels, a group of citizens got involved in the welcoming newcomers (asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented people) in the wake of the reception crisis occuring in Belgium. In a context marked by a lack of inclusivity and meeting spaces, they got to witness just how difficult it can be for newcomers to actually meet and bond with the local population. Yet, having the possibility to develop social capital is essential to feel fully included in Brussels! It allows one to learn and practice a language, to discover the city and its culture, to access more professional or housing perspectives. Most of all, connecting with people is central to everyone's well-being and self-esteem!
SINGA's main goal is to facilitate those connections between newcomers and Brussels locals, through collective activities, duos (Buddies) and flatmateships. Those encounters have a potential to broaden opportunities for newcomers, and to enrich the Belgian society with a diversity where each and everyone finds a place to develop their own potential.
The word "migrant" often conjures an image of a shapeless, precarious and dangerous figure without individuality. This biased perception polarises societies and triggers a sterile "us" versus "them" narrative.
SINGA stands for the idea of a world in motion. Movement to bring ideas, opinions and individuals together. Movements in perceptions. Movement in stereotypes, preconceived ideas. Because no desirable social project emerges from immobility and withdrawal.
We refuse to see migration uniquely as a humanitarian or security issue. We must quickly and radically change how society at large approaches migration : it is a great opportunity to meet new people, give meaning to our lives. It provides economic opportunities, limitless knowledge and permanent cultural enrichment.
(vs "migrant" or "refugee)"
MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY
A person that has newly arrived in the territory and is searching to contribute to the host society and develop their network (professional or social).
Someone who has been living in the territory for some time (and has the nationality or not). At SINGA, newcomers and local people meet each other on a daily basis.
We think that being in the mindset of "helping" newcomers prevents a real consideration of what they want and what they can bring. Therefore, we create spaces for exchanges that are balanced, where everyone is equal as a member of SINGA.
The concept of "integration" refers to individual actions that allow one to integrate into a social system that already exists. SINGA strives to promote active inclusion, where each person (irrespective of their administrative status or other characteristics) takes part in the construction and the development of a system that is constantly evolving.