28 September 2017

Building bridges between asylum seekers and other residents

Essaim d’Accueil, a student-led association which creates a personal reception network for asylum seekers arriving in Geneva, is expanding its activities.

The initiative, launched in 2016, emerged out of discussions with social workers in Geneva about the need for civil engagement with questions relating to migration and asylum. “The idea of civil engagement and personal contact with people who are applying for asylum really spoke to us”, says committee member Catherine Polishchuk (MA, Anthropology & Sociology). “The goal is to build bridges between different parts of the city and between residents who otherwise wouldn’t meet. We connect people independent of their legal status or cultural background.”

Essaim d’Accueil plans to organise a range of activities, from informal ones like drinking coffee or going swimming, to more substantive ones like music classes or sports activities”, says Alexandre Lopes (MA, International Affairs). “The point is that participants will be able to choose what they want to do.”

Essaim d’Accueil has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to enhance its activities and to develop a training programme about the administrative and legal steps associated with seeking asylum in Switzerland. You can make a donation here. The group is also holding a fundraising buffet on 21st October – details on their Facebook page.

Anyone living or studying in Geneva can get involved with the association - email comite.essaimdaccueil@gmail.com if you’d like to participate.

WATCH: our interview with Catherine and Alexandre filmed at Essaim d’Accueil’s recent Picnic in the Park event.