01 December 2016

Essaim d’Accueil: welcoming asylum seekers to Geneva

An association born out of the student-led Migration Initiative aims to set up a personal reception network for asylum seekers arriving in Geneva. Essaim d’Accueil is creating a network of volunteers in order to welcome each newcomer to the city; by facilitating interpersonal exchanges among residents, the association seeks to develop more familiarity among them. Participants will spend time together in the city, exploring key landmarks such as Bains de Pâquis or other, less known places. Whether having a coffee, taking a walk or any other creative activity, the idea is for asylum seekers and residents to spend time together, getting to know each other.

Graduate Institute students Gladys Robert and Catherine Polishchuk are members of the Essaim d’Accueil committee. “The main idea is to personally welcome people who are applying for asylum and who have just arrived in Geneva,” said Gladys. “We strongly believe that welcoming newcomers is an essential component of being humane.” Catherine explained that “at the heart of the project is the idea that personal ties and meetings form the basis for social understanding, solidarity and cooperation.”

Anyone living or studying in Geneva can get involved, and Essaim d’Accueil is actively seeking volunteers. There will be a welcome event on the evening of 8 December. You can sign up via the project’s Facebook page, or email comite.essaimdaccueil@gmail.com for details.

A video interview with Gladys and Catherine is below.