The Repair Café, an initiative in the asylum seekers centre in the Frisian village of Sint Annaparochie, provides an opportunity for asylum seekers and locals to get together for a common cause.
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that residents of the village bring in their broken appliances or clothing in need of repairs and the men and women living in the asylum seekers centre can volunteer to help fix them during the monthly Repair Café.
The project is a way for the residents of the centre, which has space for up to 400 people, to apply their wide ranging professional skills: Mesut Nazim Topalca, a Kurdish man from Turkey, worked in water management before coming to the Netherlands, and Rashid Mohammed, who is also Kurdish but came here from Syria, had 20 years’ experience as an electrician back home.
Legal limitations on asylum seekers make it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue paid work. Nora, a woman from Syria, said that she really enjoys the opportunity to do something useful. “It’s a way to help other people. Otherwise, I would just be sitting around in my caravan, feeling bored.”
The idea behind the Repair Café was borrowed from the nearby villages of Schingen and Slappeterp by Louis van der Meer. “There is plenty of professional experience available here, and the residents are eager to get involved.”
Photo courtesy of coa.nl