My name is Albert and I am from the Swiss/French countryside. I am currently volunteering as an IVY volunteer in Brussels, Belgium. My host institution is Community Land Trust Brussels (CLTB), a very complex housing organisation that provides affordable housing and community engagement to residents of limited incomes.
My IVY volunteering journey began in November 2019. Since then, I have learnt a lot about project management and collaborative projects with people from everywhere in Europe. I have, for example, helped Dado (my supervisor) with various projects that our institution is involved in, such as the creation and development of the VZW Green Cantine van Brussels ASBL; an organization that uses cooking to support the integration of female refugees.
Furthermore, I have also been helping members of our housing projects to develop their own initiatives. For example, I am taking part in a new one called Solidarité/Entraide entre les membres, born in the face of the current COVID-19 crisis. It involves CLTB members joining forces and ideas with one another in order to support quarantined people. It has resulted in projects such as children writing letters to one other, the organisation of online sport sessions, and the collection and publishing of useful information (such as residents’ housing rights in Brussels).
As well as various meetings I take part in across the city, I also spend time in the office doing paperwork, making calls, speaking Pulaar (a language from West Africa) with Natou and eating pies with Nicolas.
During this period, I have experienced how truly international and vibrant Brussels is, with stark differences in ethnicities, geographies and wealth permeating the whole city. I thus believe it represents a fitting context in analysing contemporary problematics facing the EU as a whole.