On 17 January 2022, young Belgian citizens went to Verviers (in Belgium) as part of a day of solidarity in response to the bad weather in July 2021. 6 months later, the situation is still difficult for many of the victims.
In collaboration with the Red Cross of Belgium, Bonnevie and ESOPE, two Socio-professional Integration Centres affiliated to UNESSA, brought together nearly thirty trainees and trainers. The aim of the day was to raise awareness, exchange ideas and provide assistance to the victims. The participants witnessed the countless material damages. This day, rich in meaning, had an intense programme.
The day started at the ESOPE training centre. The programme included a presentation of ESOPE, Bonnevie, UNESSA, the Y.civic project and the day. Then, the group went to the Red Cross “Flood Response” Unit in Saint Remacle, in the heart of the most affected area. The young people were able to talk directly to the people in charge. The role of the State, citizen and institutional solidarity as well as political support were discussed at length. In the afternoon, several activities were proposed: cleaning and clearing the banks of the Vesdre river, door-to-door: listening, supporting and guiding the inhabitants affected by the floods and helping them at home.
The young people particularly appreciated this day. Their willingness to act on the field made it possible to organise this solidarity action. They say: “It was a day of awareness of the climate reality in which we live and act every day directly on our home, our magnificent mother earth. Moreover, it was very strong in terms of multiple emotions, both in terms of listening and discovery, openness and human energy, and mutual sharing in every sense. Even if it was only a fraction of an hour… It was real. It was concrete. We moved forward and contributed (in our own way) to a better world! (Do you know the legend of the hummingbird?). Jonathan H. ESOPE 2022.
The trainees of the Bonnevie training center also liked this day: “We met new people. We had a nice day of solidarity and it was nice.” Ibrahim explains. “In fact the day of January 17 2022 was superb. In my opinion, I liked the welcome of the Red Cross in Verviers. And I was able to see the damage caused by the floods of July 2021. In addition, I noticed that there is a lot in the field of building (plumbing, ceiling lighting …). Thank you very much for organizing this unforgettable day.” Gloria adds. “I liked the visit to Verviers. I realized the extent of the damage on the ground after the floods. I was able to lend my support and cheer up to the inhabitants. And congratulations for the support provided by the Red Cross.” Ilyass concludes.