JCI Connect


Simon Meurs


From March 13 to September 30, 2018


Help local refugees find their way in the Belgian professional market

Target population


Target avg age


People impacted


Sustainable Development Goal

Reduced Inequalities

Development stage

Education and Economic Empowerment


Organise a day where people can learn about what it is to be a mentor and what it would mean to a refugee to be mentored in finding their way in the Belgian job market so they can be economically independent from subsidies.


In Belgium, as in all of Europe, there are a lot of refugees from the Middle East and other places. They have no idea about how to start looking for a job, and are dependent from money they get from the government. This isn't a lot, and this means that they often live in poverty and get marginalised from the community. Together with AIF+, a non-profit which has specialised in coupling mentors with refugees with funding and knowhow from Europe, we organised a day the make people enthusiastic about the concept of being a mentor.

The goal was to make it completely free so no one who was even a little bit interested had an excuse not to come, and with the financial help of JCI Leuven, we succeeded. More than 50% of the attendants signed up to be a mentor. Thanks to follow-up meetings with Sam from AIF+, who is managing the refugees as a full time job, we know that more than 20 refugees are helped in successfully finding a job.

Now the job at hand is spreading the word to other JCI communities and we hope some of them will organise a day which has the same impact as ours!

Actions Taken

Presenting at JCI Brussels
Presenting at JCI Mechelen about the day we organised
Follow up of people who were interested
Free brunch for mentors and mentees
Organising coffe breaks
Organising training two: How to keep your mentee engaged
Organising training one: How to be an enthusiastic mentor?
Organising free breakfast for
Getting a good location in the center of Leuven (University of Leuven was partner)


The day went very well, with more than 30 attendants from all over Flanders, 5 refugees who came talking about their experiences, local politicians showing up. We made sure the day was completely free, so both refugees and interested mentors were able to enjoy the two trainings wee offered. Both breakfast and lunch were free for all attendants as well, so everyone could enjoy the day without any repercussions to their budget.


- Start early enough
- Be realistic about how many people are going to attend
- Find the right partners for the project
- Don't try to do everything by yourself, but keep the core team small enough to make decisions
- Watch the budget

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